BY TRISH RUDDER
The Town of Bath budget of $662,265 for fiscal year 2018-19 was approved by the State Auditor’s Office, said town clerk Sharron Corrick on Friday, March 29.
The town council approved the budget at a special meeting on Wednesday, March 27. The new budget goes into effect July 1 and is $62,713 more than the fiscal year 2017-18 budget of $599,552 that ends June 30.
Councilman Andrew Swaim, who chairs the Finance Committee said the increase in the overall budget is due to the projected revenue from the Hotel/Motel taxes that was increased from four percent to six percent that began on January 1.
Both the town and the county officials approved the rate increase. Swaim also said the healthcare expenses for town employees showed a significant increase from $53,500 for the current fiscal year and are projected to be $81,700 for fiscal year 2018-19.
The bulk of the town’s revenue comes from a projected property tax collection of $162,610.
It also projects an estimated $81,000 in refuse collection, $55,000 on excise tax on utilities, $40,000 on the B&O tax, $40,000 in fines, fees and court costs, $36,000 in wine and liquor fees, $31,200 in contributions from other entities, and $30,000 in parking meter collections as some of the larger revenue sources.
The town’s largest expense is the $203,618 cost for the police department, of which about one half of the public safety budget is for wages and salaries, Swaim said.
“Overall, about $215,000 or one third of the town’s budget is for wages and salaries,” he said in an email.
The mayor, the town recorder or the five council members do not receive a salary. Swaim said the municipal court judge does not receive a salary either. They all volunteer their time, he said.
The town projects it will spend $158,521 in street and transportation costs, which include street lights, signs and signals, snow removal and street construction. It also projects spending $118,875 for the garbage department, $37,800 for City Hall, $57,363 for the City Clerk’s office.
Due to the Hotel/Motel tax increase, it projects it will expend $20,700 to Parks and Recreation, $30,000 to the travel council, $1,000 to fair associations/festivals, $2,900 to arts and humanities, $2,800 to the museum commission, $1,700 to the historical commission and $900 to the Rails and Trails project, according to the budget report.
Town tax rates go up
The town council accepted the tax rates set by the county for the 2018-19 fiscal year.
The net amount to be raised by the levy of property taxes in the town is $162,610.
Rates for the two classes of real estate in the town were higher than fiscal year 2017-18.
Town officials approved the tax rate of 21.72 cents per $100 of assessed value for Class II properties inside the town limits. That rate is up from 21.60 cents per $100 of assessed value from the previous tax year.
Class IV properties, which include all other property inside the town limits, will be taxed at a rate of 43.44 cents per $100 of assessed value. That rate is up from 43.20 cents per $100 of assessed value from the previous tax year.
Property owners will see the new tax rates on their bills in July.