To: Citizens of South Thomaston
Fr: The South Thomaston Selectboard
Subj: FY2019 Tax Rate
Date July 31, 2019
On July 31, the Selectboard met with the Town’s Assessors agent to review the Municipal Tax Rate Calculation, options to modify the calculated “mil rate” and other items. Present and voting were Cheryl Waterman and Walter Reitz. Jeff Northgraves from the Budget Committee joined the meeting for a time by phone.
You will be receiving your tax bills in the next few days. Your bill will be based on a “mil rate” of .01400 or $14.00 per thousand of valuation. This is an increase of $.57/thousand or 4.2% over FY2018. The driver of this level of increase is the RSU13 assessment to the Town of $3,103,244.64 up from $2,761,060 or 12.3% over FY2108. In preparing the Operating Budget and request for appropriation at Town Meeting we used RSU13’s projection of a 2% increase over 2018.
The initial calculation of the tax rate at our July 31 meeting was based on all of the revenue and expenses approved at Town Meeting, combined with the County and RSU 13 assessments. It resulted in a “mil rate” of $14.55 per thousand. The Selectboard then voted to apply $150,000 of the Town’s unassigned funds (surplus) to lower the tax rate. Such a large application of surplus is not without some risk but we feel the risk is prudent. This action results in a remaining balance of unassigned and unrestricted funds of $464,217 or 12.3% of the 2019 Tax Commitment. This amount represents less than 1.5 times an average spending month going forward which is less coverage than we have had for the last several years.
The Selectboard will have a review of the Tax Rate Calculation at its August 13 meeting but the following is a review of the major components that go into the calculation:
Taxable Real and Personal Property: $272,954.803. This the Total Valuation Base
County Tax: $ 286,874.85
Municipal Appropriation $1,266,299.00
Total Educational Appropriation: 3,103,244.64
Total Assessments: $4,656,418.49
State Municipal Revenue Sharing: $ 79,172.00
Other Revenues (includes use of surplus) $751,612
Total Deductions: $830,784
Net to be raised by local property tax: $3,825,634
Homestead Reimbursement and Business Equipment Tax Exemption bring the Net Assessment for Tax Commitment down to $3,770,642.44.
As we look forward, the baseline of activities and investments which are funded by property taxes has been increased more and faster than anticipated and is unlikely to return to 2017/2018 levels. Thus, increased vigilance and scrutiny will be asked of all of us to prioritize our spending and investments carefully and opt out of, or delay, some “nice to haves” and focus on the “must haves”
With that all said, enjoy the remainder of glorious Maine Summer!
Walter Reitz, Chair
Cheryl Waterman, Selectboard Member
Jan Gaudio, Selectboard Member