Bangor Council Budget Vote 

Wayne Harvey

During the past few months, questions have swirled around the Bangor City Council about what the budget would look like for the coming fiscal year…There was speculation about where cuts would be made and how big they might be, and if the tax rate would change.At tonight’s City Council meeting, all of the questions should be answered.”This is me, one councilor speaking, saying I believe we’ll have a budget by the end of tonight,” said Councilor Rick Bronson. “Out of the nine councilors, sure there are multiple opinions. The far majority of what is contained in that proposed budget seems to be agreed by everybody. We’re talking about smaller things at the edges.”Councilor Gerry Palmer added “I’ve been very comfortable recently that things have gelled in not the worst way, but in a good way”Part of the debate was whether to increase the tax rate or to dip into the city’s reserve fund to make up any shortfalls.”Some people say this is the rainy day so spend it now to hold the tax rate down,” said Bronson. “Others could say this may not be our worst rainy day yet, so maybe we ought to hang on to it. I don’t sense a big desire from the majority of the council to reduce the reserve.”Some of the problems also came out of misconception or misinformation.”What people want to come away with now is Councilor X, Councilor Y says ‘Cut the Police, Cut Fire.’ That isn’t what anybody is saying. What people are saying is we’re discussing almost arcane things like training budgets. We’re not discussing big slashes of any of these departments,” said Bronson. No matter the outcome, the councilors say it will be better than the potential alternative, said Palmer. “And if we fail tonight, and we’re not able to get together tomorrow, then July 1st, the Managers Budget will go into effect and that budget I don’t think any of us really would like to see.”Based on the current projections, if the budget is passed as it is, the tax rate in Bangor will increase by 15 cents.