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Mexico to spread out windfall
MEXICO -- At a time when state revenue sharing has been reduced, Mexico has received an unexpected windfall of $704,975.10 from the Maine State Retirement Association because the town's account was closed out.
Town Manager John Madigan said the retirement system called several towns that are inactive in the system and Mexico has been inactive since 2004. "We've been members since 1964 and we have very few people who are drawing retirement. But all of those funds have been pulled out into a different fund for those folks, so we have basically no one in the system. What they said was that they were calling the inactive towns to see if they wanted to close out their funds."
"These are funds that would have been the town's contribution back in the sixies, seventies and eighties, and a lot of people who work in municipalities or if they move or go to another town," he said. "They were all able to take theur contribution out of the town's contribution. So we have no obligation on this money. We didn't know exactly what that money was going to be until they actually sold the assets because the state invests all these assets."
Madigan said selectmen and the Budget Committee agreed that the best use of the $705K would be to set it aside to allocate to the debt service over the next five years. This includes $135,000 for this year, $227,000 for next year and $228,000 the year after that.
Due to the bad economy, the town took advantage of low interest rates to take out three road reconstruction bonds from the Maine Municipal Bond Bank. These include a five-year $500K bond with $49,000 interest, a 10-year $300K bond with $50,947 interest, and a 15-year $2.1 million bond with $337,000 interest.
The total proposed town budget is $2.844 million, an increase of 8.98 percent. The total budget, including the county and school, is $4.133 million, which represents a 7.73 percent increase. In both cases, the Budget Committee is recommending $12,503 less than the selectmen's total.
The referendum town meeting will take place on Tuesday in the Calvin P. Lyons Hall. Polls will open at 9 a.m. and close at 8 p.m. Absentee ballots are available at the town office.