BRUNSWICK — Some residents in Brunswick are concerned with how the town plans to spend $200,000 it received as part of increased school funding by the state.

The money, which was part of $628,000 given to the Brunswick School District by the state, was intended to offset a 3 percent increase in the tax rate, reducing it to 2.5 percent. However, due to changes in the way the state reimburses towns for the Homestead Exemption, Brunswick ended up having a $200,000 shortfall, making the extra school money a wash.

“It will be going towards property tax. The problem is, we’re $200,000 short on the Homestead Exemption,” said Town Manager John Eldridge. “The state giveth and the state tooketh away, and at the end of the day they offset.”

The Homestead Exemption provides property tax relief for permanent residents of Maine. Initially, according to Eldridge, the state budget proposed by Gov. Paul LePage made it so the Homestead Exemption would only apply to residents above a certain age. However, during the budget debates and state shutdown, that proposal was shifted into a lower reimbursement for towns. Towns were promised over 60 percent in the reimbursement, a number which was shifted to 50 percent.

Resident Jean Powers said she felt the town council should try and find a way to keep that .5 percent tax decrease as they promised.

Council debated the merits of using a variety of funding sources to help offset tax increases. Councilor Jane Millett suggested they use the funds gained in the sale of 946 Mere Point Road, which sold for over half-a-million dollars earlier in the year. Councilor Steve Walker opposed that idea, as initially council had promised that money would go towards increased aquaculture in the town.

In the end, council tasked Eldridge with looking for alternative funding sources that could be used to reduce the .5 percent increase in Brunswick’s tax rate.