By Diana Bowley of the News Staff - DEXTER - The Town Council on Thursday voted to increase the property tax levy limit for the town to $1.44 million and then adopted a 2005 budget.
The $2,924,801 approved budget for municipal, school and county expenses necessitates an increase in the mill rate of $2 per $1,000 valuation. The tax rate will increase from $21.70 to $23.70 per $1,000 valuation. The 2005 budget represents a net increase from 2004-05 of $185,651.
Had the council not increased the municipal property tax levy limit imposed under LD 1, the town would have had to remain at or under last year's funding level of $1.3 million. Last year's municipal budget, however, was slashed and capital reserve accounts were left unfunded in anticipation of the passage of the "Palesky tax cap," which later failed.
Unlike communities that have town meetings, Dexter's charter gives the council sole power over budget adoption.
As in other communities, changes in the homestead exemption program and new legislation helped shift more expenses onto property taxes, the council learned. This year about 70 percent of the town's total funding needs are paid for by property taxes compared to 60 percent in 2003-04. The remainder is paid by local revenue sources, state reimbursements and grants.
The municipal side of the budget includes funds placed in reserve for future projects and purchases, such as a new firetruck, paving, a bridge replacement on Pullen Road, a new roof over the police station, and other infrastructure improvements, according to Tax Assessor David Pearson.
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