Woodland board OKs mill rate increase

11 months ago

WOODLAND, Maine — Woodland’s Select Board approved a 1.3 percent increase in the town’s annual mill rate Tuesday evening.

The 2023 mill rate will be $19.80 per $1,000 of property value, with an overlay of $16,005. In 2022, the mill rate was 18.5, with a $10,260 overlay.

Select Board member Thomas Drew said that given the rise of inflation and budget costs, he thought the town had passed “a reasonable increase [in the mill rate] with a reasonable overlay.”

In July, the majority of 68 registered voters approved both the town and school budgets, which included significant cost increases.

Town Administrator Vicki Page explained that the overlay is similar to a reserve account, one that the town can use for unexpected property tax-related issues, like abatements.

The Select Board approved one abatement and tabled another two following an executive session. 

In other business, the Select Board unanimously voted to add a question-and-answer period to their regular meetings. The decision came after many residents asked why they could ask questions during the public comment period but not receive immediate answers from the board.

The Select Board will try out a question-and-answer period at its September meeting, Board Chairperson Harold Tardy said.

“I said I would consider it, as long as we can answer questions and move on, not have a lengthy discussion,” Tardy said.

Woodland resident Lewis Cousins also suggested that the town form a seven-member committee to establish town bylaws and a charter. Woodland has never had a town charter. 

The Select Board did not vote to establish that type of committee, but the topic arose again after Drew inquired about which board members have town office keys.

Tardy and Kathy Ouellette said that they both have office keys, but not to the town garage.

“We had highway department employees who were concerned about liability. They’re responsible for everything [in the garage],” Drew said.

Resident Ethan Rossignol said that perhaps if the town had bylaws and a charter, that could resolve the debate over whether Select Board members should have keys.

“No town selectman needs to have keys,” Rossignol said.

Ouellette said that she would use the office keys only if she needed to sign payroll warrants or other documents after the normal office hours.

The next regular Select Board meeting will be held at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 19, in the town garage, located adjacent to the town office at 843 Woodland Center Road.