Madawaska officials set budget

MADAWASKA, Maine - Madawaska officials have set the town's budget, with a slight increase to the mill rate. Kathy McCarty met with the town manager to find out why the increase was necessary.

The budget for the town of Madawaska was set during a mid-October meeting. Town Manager Gary Picard says the budget was set a bit later in the year to allow town officials to work out some of the details.

"Typically we would vote on our town budget in the month of May or June. This year we had a difficult budget process. We're seeing 11 to 12 percent in our budget, and the school's budget is up as well too."

Picard says some of that is expense related, while some is shrinking revenues coming from the state.

"We took our time with our budget process this year. We had an appraisal done on the Twin Rivers paper mill and we didn't really know where we were gonna end up with that. So this past spring we adopted an interim budget to carry us through, with the goal of adopting our budget when we had a more definitive idea of where we were going to be revenue-wise."

About 70 citizens turned out and approved the nearly $6 million dollar budget.

"We were dealing with issues that - expenses that came our way that we didn't have much control over, and also dealing with years of deferred maintenance, and we really had no choice. We have some projects that we need to fund - capital projects, and so we bit the bullet this year on that, but we're confident that this budget sets us up very nicely for the upcoming budget process, which is only a few months away."

Picard says the Finance Committee worked with town officials, with the mill rate in mind, adopting a half-mill increase - up from 19-point-7 to 20-point-2.