Originally published in Island Ad-Vantages, February 2, 2017
Deer Isle municipal budget seeks to limit tax increase
by Monique Labbe
The 2017 Deer Isle municipal budget is up about $94,880, according to the latest draft discussed by the board of selectmen during its January 26 meeting. While the budget is up, Selectman Lewis Ellis noted that the tax inflation to the town is only up .007 percent. Ellis said the reason for such a low property tax increase is because of increases in other taxes collected by the town—$18,000 received in tree growth this year and $542,000 in excise tax, which allowed him to “hold the bottom line” when going over the budget.
“I didn’t receive an increase in my Social Security, which means everyone else [in Deer Isle] who lives on Social Security didn’t get one either,” said Ellis. “I didn’t want the cost to the townspeople to increase any more.”
One of the major increases in the budget that townspeople will see on the warrant at town meeting in April is the amount to be raised for tarring and patching of town roads. That warrant article is up $31,000 from last year, at $123,000. The biggest road projects are slated for Eggemoggin Road and Sunshine Road, both of which Ellis said need to be done this year.
One of the biggest areas for decreases to the budget is the amount to be raised to maintain the transfer station. That warrant article is down $26,000, as the $25,000 raised last year for a new compactor is no longer a factor in that budget line.
The amount of money to raise for the town’s share of the health premiums for eligible employees is up $16,000 at $73,000, which translates to about $11,000 per employee, according to Ellis.
The warrant has not officially been accepted by the selectmen, but it is “just about finished,” and will be sent off to the printer in preparation for town meeting, said Ellis.