FORT KENT — Town officials on Monday voted to set the mill rate to 21, which is the same as last year. But while the rate is the same, town properties increased in value by 7 percent across the board because of a recent market cost analysis.
Town Manager Suzie Paradis said the cost analysis was necessary due to COVID-19, and that without it, the town would not be able to offer the full homestead exemption at $25,000.
As a result of the property value increase, a home previously valued at $200,000 would now be valued at $214,000.
Paradis said before the meeting that the municipality saw slight increases in most departments from the previous budget year. Union contracts increased. Recreation departments also increased because of the minimum wage hike. This resulted in more money being needed to pay part-time employees during the summer.
The town also saw insurance increases, higher electricity bills and increases in snow plowing contracts.
“These are pretty much the typical increases that everyone is feeling,” she said.
Paradis said the municipal budget makes up about 15 percent of the town’s tax bill, which also includes County and school taxes. She said that school funding in particular takes up about 60 percent of the tax bill.
The town manager presented options for slightly lower mill rates, but the council ultimately decided to keep the rate flat.
“It’s just kicking the ball down the road,” Council Chairperson Corey Pelletier said of lowering the mill rate. “We’re gonna eat it later.”