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Council votes to decrease mill rate during July meeting

PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — The city council voted on Wednesday night to decrease the mill rate from 25.82 to 24.99 for this year. 

City Assessor Lewis Cousins presented the previous years’ mill rates to the council before councilors voted. The mill rate has jumped from 25.46 the year before last to 25.82 last year — the highest rate since 2015. 

The councilors also debated the possibility of a mill rate of 24.95 or 24.97 but ultimately settled on 24.99. 

Mike Chasse, chairman of the City Council, said that the city “has been working hard” to make it more feasible for people to reside in Presque Isle.

 “We made a big stride last night,” Chasse said.

City Manager Martin Puckett spoke about economic improvements in Presque Isle over the last few years. 

“We’ve had a lot of good growth,” he said. 

During the second part of the meeting, the councilors considered a loan request from Northern Maine Fair Association. Puckett informed councilors of the details of the request, as no representative from the association was present at the time. 

The councilors discussed the possibility of a $3,000 loan from the city, which is supposedly to be used for a fence to improve parking at the fairground. The council agreed to table the loan request until the next council meeting in August. 

Presque Isle Airport Director Scott Wardwell, who gave the council an update of the airport on Wednesday night, said that Presque Isle airport is performing better than Bangor and Portland jetports in terms of fare costs. 

“We are cheaper than United [airlines] in Bangor on average,” Wardwell said. 

Wardwell also said that due to recent improvements, the airport is better meeting the needs of the community. He said there have been zero flight cancellations so far this month. 

Enhancing the airport’s performance appears to be a collaborative effort with the city. During the evening, the council also stated its own dedication to improving flight issues, such as delays and cancellations, that have occurred in past years. 

The council commended Wardwell for his commitment to improving the airport, specifically with offering competitive fare prices to travellers. 

“The numbers [from Wardwell’s report of the Presque Isle airport] just don’t support the negativity that’s spread through the community,” one council member said. 

The next city council meeting will take place at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 7. 

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