Houlton Town Manager Butch Asselin told Town Councilors during the last meeting on March 14 that the town is projected to receive $395,465 in revenue sharing that fiscal year, due to a loss of 200 people based on the 2013 census information used to calculate it.
That is a loss of $5,000 in revenue sharing funds over last year, according to the manager. Asselin said last week that the population of the community has dropped due to a number of factors, including more deaths than births, out migration and a loss of school population.
“This is something that is very concerning, even though the numbers are not final and they could change,” he said. “It is not just Houlton. Other towns in Aroostook and the state have been hit as well.”
According to the Office of the State Treasurer, revenue sharing is distributed to each municipality based on a formula that includes municipal populations, state valuations and tax assessments. The monthly revenue sharing pool is funded by putting a portion of the state government’s sales, service provider, and personal and corporate income tax receipts aside.
The town manager said that he talked to state officials and asked them to run the numbers again.
“If they use the 2014 census numbers, we might see a difference,” he said.
He said that in the meantime, the budget process begins in the fall, and he is optimistic that the $5,000 loss will not have that much of an impact on the budget. Asselin noted that the economy is turning itself around, and additional motor vehicle revenue might make up for the difference.
“It is too early to predict an impact on the budget right now,” he said. “There could be adjustments. Like I said, we are not the only one facing the loss of population, because Maine is an aging state. “
An official from the State Treasurer’s Office said Thursday that she could not comment on the loss of revenue sustained by other towns in general without looking up each individual town, but said that overall, Maine is losing population due to its aging senior citizen population.