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Pembroke voters to face 5 percent budget increase, but that number may be deceptive

  • Pembroke Academy as seen on April, 2, 2016. Elizabeth Frantz / Monitor file



Monitor staff
Thursday, March 15, 2018

Voters in Pembroke will be asked to approve an operating budget that’s up more than 5 percent at town meeting Saturday, but town administrator David Jodoin cautioned that that number is deceptive. That’s because the operating budget assumes voters will green-light Article 9 on the warrant, which asks voters to retire the Soucook River Tax Increment Financing District. That will transfer the TIF district’s spending – and revenues – over to the general fund, a wash for taxpayers.

Hot topic: Like several towns across the state, Pembroke voters will decide whether or not to let the town’s bars begin offering keno, the electronic gambling game.

Budget: The proposed operating budget is $8,504,320, up $450,356 from this year’s budget. The select board and the budget committee recommend it. Over $350,000 of the increase results from the fund taking on the debt obligations of the TIF district, a special taxing district that used tax revenues from certain commercial properties to pay for economic development infrastructure in the area around US-3 and Route 106. The TIF district’s revenues are also getting transferred over.

Jodoin said the town wants to retire the fund because it’s getting to be a bit of an accounting headache.

“There’s been some changes over the last few years over how things get recorded and recognized by DRA,” he said. “It just gets really confusing, explaining it to people.”

If the operating budget and warrant articles are all approved, the tax rate will go up an estimated 4 cents per $1,000 of assessed property value, which is about $10 on a $250,000 home.

Noteworthy articles: A petitioned warrant article also seeks $3,600 to begin video-taping and livestreaming board meetings. The ballot includes a $1.2 million bond for road improvements to Upper Beacon Hill, East Meadow and East View. Jodoin said that, if the article is approved, it wouldn’t have an impact on the tax rate, since the bond would be paid for out of the existing road budget. Another article would put $466,000 away in different capital reserve funds. The tax impact of that is 70 cents per $1,000 of assessed property value, according to Jodoin.

When and where: Town meeting will take place at 10 a.m. Saturday at Pembroke Academy.