Chebeague Island budget could shrink by $35K

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CHEBEAGUE ISLAND — Next year’s municipal budget could drop about $35,000, down to $1.93 million, Town Administrator Eric Dyer said on Tuesday.

The school side of the draft fiscal 2013 budget could have a small increase, although undesignated funds carried over from the current fiscal year would produce a net budget decrease.

Town Meeting will vote on the complete fiscal 2013 spending plan on June 9.

Chebeague’s tax rate of $19.95 per $1,000 of property valuation could remain flat next year, Dyer said. It was $19.80 in fiscal 2011, and in the town’s first fiscal year after its secession from Cumberland, 2008, the rate was $20.49.

The fiscal 2012 school budget of nearly $886,000 could see a gross increase of 3.6 percent, to nearly $919,000. But Superintendent of Schools Alton Hadley said Tuesday that he plans to carry forward more money from the undesignated fund balance than was used in fiscal 2012 – nearly $118,000 instead of $74,500 – to offset the increase.

Nearly $139,000 is coming from the state – about $8,400 less than the town received for fiscal 2012 – bringing the the net school budget for fiscal 2013 to about $662,000, a 0.4 percent decrease.

Last year, Chebeague authorized the gradual transition of its elementary school students to Yarmouth schools, rather than sending them to School Administrative District 51 (Cumberland-North Yarmouth).

Hadley said the gross budget increase reflects the added tuition costs of sending more Chebeague students to Yarmouth.

Alex Lear can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 113 or alear@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @learics.

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A Maine native and Colby College graduate, Alex has been covering coastal communities since 2001, and currently handles Bath, Topsham, Cumberland, and North Yarmouth. He and his wife, Lauren, live in the Portland area, and Alex recently released his third album of original music.