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Bath, ME (June 26, 2020) – The Board of Directors of Regional School Unit 1 (RSU 1) approved a $38.2 million spending plan for fiscal year 2021 on June 8th after several months of Finance Committee meetings and public forums to gather community input. Now the district will seek public approval of the proposed budget by referendum on July 14. Residents may vote in person or by absentee ballot.
If approved, the budget will result in an average 2.1% tax increase across the district. Specifically, Bath will see a 2.52% increase, Arrowsic will see a 3.25% increase, Woolwich will see a 2.48% increase, and Phippsburg will see a 0.14% decrease in taxes.
Superintendent Patrick Manuel said one of the major reasons for the increase is largely due to the first principal payment on the local share of the new Morse High School and Bath Regional Career and Technical Center.
In this year’s referendum, the RSU 1 budget is broken down into five separate questions instead of a single budget approval question. This format is required by the State Department of Education.
An example of this is question five on the referendum, which asks for approval of a school revolving renovation fund to pay for conversion from steam to hot water systems and health abatements at the Dike-Newell Elementary School in Bath. Approving the fund will allow the district to take advantage of a $365,000 loan at zero interest, of which the Maine Municipal Bond Bank will forgive 51%.
“As a Priority 1 Health, Safety, and Compliance renovation, the Dike-Newell project will have to be completed regardless of the outcome of the vote,” said Superintendent Patrick Manuel. “Question five seeks special approval of a fund which will lift some of the burden off of the taxpayers.”
The total sum of funding and expenditures presented in the five referendum questions equals the total RSU 1 budget - $38.2 million. The RSU 1 Board of Directors encourages residents to vote on July 14th.