The Orono City Council approved its 2022 preliminary property tax levy and 2022 preliminary general fund budget at its meeting on Monday, Sept. 27.

Orono’s finance director Ron Olson presented the tax levy to the council stating that the levy is increasing by $529,090 or 8 percent compared to 2021, coming in at $7,139,710.

By law cities are required to adopt a preliminary property tax levy by Sept. 30. Once adopted, the preliminary levy may be reduced, but it cannot be increased.

Olson told the council that the property tax levy has five components. The first is the operating levy which is adopted to fund the General Fund Operating Budget and is increasing by $250,000 or 5 percent. The second part is the facilities levy which is dedicated to be used for construction and capital maintenance of city buildings. The third is for the pavement management levy that is needed to fund the city’s pavement maintenance plan which is increasing by $150,000. A levy for parks that was reinstated last year is being increased by $50,000. The final levy component is for the debt service of the city’s outstanding bonds.

The breakdown for the for the tax levy is: General Fund - Operating $5,172,030; Facilities $390,000; Pavement Management $900,000; Parks $100,000; and Debt Service $577,680.

As for the budget, Olson said that the preliminary expenditure budget totals first includes expenditures totaling $10,181,263; an increase in expenditures of $920,763 over the 2021 budget.

The rimary reason for that increase is due to increased revenues like the new service contract with Spring Park, a grant to cover the Toward Zero Deaths expenses in police special services, increased permit revenue and increases in the police service contracts, Olson said.

For revenues, the General Fund budget also totals $10,330,530 and currently exceeds the expenditure budget by $148,500.

The city will hold a public hearing at the council meeting scheduled for Monday, Dec. 6, 2021 at 6 p.m. This allows public input on the final budget and levy prior to its adoption at the final budget at the meeting.

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