Cumberland budget hearings begin next week
CUMBERLAND — The first of two public hearings on the municipal budget will be held Monday, April 13, at 7 p.m. in Town Hall. The second will occur April 27 at the same time and place. Both will be televised.
With proposed municipal spending at $8 million and projected revenues at $3.7 million, the budget's impact on taxpayers would be an added 1.2 percent, or 17 cents per $1,000 of assessed value. The school budget will further affect the mil rate, and as proposed would add another 95 cents.
Included in the municipal budget proposal are:
• Funds for the Route 88 drainage and shoulder improvements.
• A combined fire and rescue department.
• Maintaining a 5 percent pay cut for all employees, enacted earlier this year.
• Keeping Town Hall closed Fridays (also enacted earlier this year).
• Not providing health benefits to part-time employees.
• Reducing two employees to part-time.
• Eliminating one full-time paramedic.
• Ending the regional rescue program with Falmouth and Yarmouth.
The combined fire and rescue department is supported by both department chiefs. The regional rescue program's demise was also a mutual agreement, because Yarmouth and Falmouth rescue programs are also being restructured. Most other changes to the budget have already occured and are simply being carried forward.
The Route 88 project is a $240,000 increase to the budget (and will remain in the budget for the next 20 years because of bonding), but has the backing of the Town Council.
Because the school budget is expected to require a large tax increase, some residents are hopeful that further cuts might be made to the municipal budget to bring down the total tax increase. The issue was briefly mentioned in public hearing at Monday's School Board meeting, but has not yet been heard publicly by the Town Council.
The council will vote to approve a budget following the second public hearing later this month. The school budget faces a public hearing April 14 at 7 p.m. in Town Hall, and public validation in a referendum scheduled May 26.
Sarah Trent can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 108 or firstname.lastname@example.org.