January 18, 2022

Bucksport budget easily clears council

BUCKSPORT — Without a hitch, the Town Council passed the $11.1 million budget for 1998-99 as it was proposed at a special meeting Thursday night. The measure’s passage will mean about a 3 percent increase in property taxes.

The total budget, which is 4.7 percent, or $499,484, higher than the current year’s, will keep town services about the same, but will allow the school department to restore some positions cut in previous years and to increase its capital improvement account by more than 56 percent, or about $37,000.

School Superintendent Marc Curtis noted that while capital improvements represented the largest increase in the school budget, it was one of the areas hit hardest by cuts in past years.

Town Manager Roger Raymond emphasized that increased revenues to the school department from tuition payments and state subsidy had helped the department to earmark $160,748 for new and reinstated staff.

The council unanimously approved each area of the total budget, and only one audience member asked a question all evening.

In his presentation before the vote, Raymond said the major increase in the municipal part of the budget would be 3 percent cost-of-living raises for town employees. Overall, the municipal budget of $3,347,076 is going up by 3.1 percent, or $101,811.

The school budget of $7,789,131 reflects an increase of 5.3 percent over the current year. Curtis said major additions include restoring a half-time high school guidance counselor position for $19,604, and a half-time high school English teacher for $15,580. A three-tenths-time elementary physical education teacher position will be restored, costing $15,000.

Adding a half-time high school vocational education teacher will cost an extra $15,500.

The instructional materials and technology budget area shows a 12 percent, or $23,206, increase, which is needed because it has been cut back in the past, Curtis said.

An additional $30,000 was approved to hire Bucksport architect John Gordon to draft a preliminary design of a math and science addition for the high school.

Budget decreases on the school side include a savings of $26,438 from paying off an energy bond for a new heating ventilation system at the high school. Debt service is down by $16,519, and Workers’ Compensation shows a small decrease.

Asked what would happen if state subsidy revenues to Bucksport fell next year, Curtis declined to predict, noting that other factors, such as the economy, affect the educational budget and programs as well.

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