BANGOR- After months of discussion and workshops, city councilors had a first reading of the proposed budget for 2020.
City Council Chair, Sarah Nichols, said they plan on voting on it at their next full meeting, which is June 24th.
The city budget being proposed for next year is $104,992,698, which is about $7-million more than last years.
“Most of it is honestly in regards to COLA,” Nichols said. “Our city employees are getting proper wages and benefits and that is the primary driver of the mil rate.”
Council members decided to remove body cameras from the Bangor Police Department’s budget since there were too many logistical hurdles.
However, the budget does include funds for a homeless coordinator.
“We’re going to have someone who can specifically liaise to the homeless community,” said Councilor Ben Sprague. “I think that will be a nice addition. A lot of work the police department does is really social work. Having someone who knows that field very well is going to be a nice addition.”
Because of the increase in the budget, taxpayers will likely be paying more.
“The tax rate in Bangor will likely go up 2-3%. We hate to see it go up at all, but have a lot of needs in this community with infrastructure and some of the aging streets and sidewalks,” said Sprague. “We got to invest, but fortunately we’ve been able to keep the property tax rate at a fairly modest level.”
Councilors say they may need to make minor adjustments based on changes made to the state budget before that passes.