Presque Isle approves 2022 budget at final workshop meeting
After months of working with department heads, Presque Isle City Council closed the book on the 2022 budget process on Thursday evening.
NEAR ISLE, Maine – After months of working with department heads, Presque Isle City Council closed the book on the 2022 budget process on Thursday evening when the five out of seven councilors in attendance approved a budget of $ 14.7 million. Revenues were valued at $ 7.6 million and net expenses at approximately $ 7 million.
This budget reflects increases of $ 500,000 from the current budget for total expenses and $ 700,000 in revenue, and a decrease of $ 250,000 for net expenses from the 2021 budget.
Most departments have seen increases except for public safety, debt servicing, capital reserves, IT and city clerk, all of which have declined. The increases for all departments are mainly due to union contracts and wages.
The board has agreed to hold a public hearing on December 1 for the pending credit enhancement agreement applications. Credit enhancement is a benefit that compensates businesses within a Tax Increment Finance district for costs associated with development. Two companies planning to participate are the Presque Isle Inn and Convention Center and Griffeth Honda.
The board then voted to approve the mandate for an election to break the tie for the Section 15 SAD 1 school board position. There were two written candidates, John Johnston and Susan Johnston, who are unrelated.
The city charter does not allow council to have a conversation with the candidates to settle the matter without an election. This means that an election must be held again for Article 15 only. It will take place on December 28 from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. at the multipurpose room of the Sargent Community Center.
The board then addressed all outstanding issues regarding the budget. Councilors voted to use excess government funds to pay off the city’s project debts. The debts for the ice cream at the Forum, the start-up of EMS, and the Cunningham school loan have all been paid off.
“It’s putting the money back where it should be,” said City Manager Martin Puckett. “It should help taxpayers, and overall it can be a great long term plan.”
The board also discussed leaving money in the budget for full-time positions that would be hired later next year, so they wouldn’t run out of funds if more help needed to be hired. This was the case when looking at a full-time code enforcement officer or a full-time event promoter for the Forum.
After settling the final details, the council voted to approve the 2022 budget.
The board especially thanked Puckett and CFO Brad Turner, as well as all of the other department heads for all of their hard work in the budget process.
“Thank you all for the countless hours you put into this process,” said City Councilor Kevin Freeman.
The board then thanked Fire Chief Darrell White for his service as Fire Chief and to the community, as well as his service as President of the Maine Fire Chiefs Association and Vice President of the New England Fire Chiefs Association. .
The board then went into executive session to discuss real estate, and adjourned shortly thereafter.
The next city council meeting will be held on December 1 at 6 p.m. in the multipurpose room of the Sargent Community Center.