City leaders in Portland approved a budget plan Monday night that will raise property taxes nearly 4 percent, but preserves spending for the city’s Fourth of July fireworks celebration,.
Portland city councilors unanimously approved the fiscal year 2019 municipal budget at their Monday night meeting.
The total $359 million spending plan includes both the city and the school budgets, the latter of which they approved last week. The budget is expected to trigger a 3.8 percent tax increase, or nearly $200 of additional property taxes per year for the average Portland homeowner.
The @CityPortland FY19 budget was just passed unanimously by City Council. Municipal tax rate increase of 2.7% combined with 5.0% tax increase for Portland Public Schools = overall 3.8% increase in FY19 mil rate to $22.48. Unofficial appropriation resolve attached. #PortlandME pic.twitter.com/clvjVZG0sn
— Brendan T. O’Connell (@PortlandCFO) May 22, 2018
Throughout the budget process, Mayor Ethan Strimling said he wanted to shift the property tax burden away from residents and focus more on economic development in the city.
He was asking councilors to reduce the mill rate and charge higher fees for building permits and short-term rentals.
The mayor also proposed at one point eliminating city funding for the annual Independence Day fireworks celebration on the Eastern Promenade, which attracts as many as 50,000 people to the city every year. But the budget that was approved Monday included funding for the holiday celebration, according to the Portland Press Herald.
Strimling said nearly 60 percent of the city’s revenue comes from property taxes and only 40 percent from businesses.
A big part of the tax increase comes from the school budget side of the spending plan. The school budget must also be approved through a citywide referendum, which will take place on June 12.
Last week, city councilors told the school district to cut $1 million from their budget.
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