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Portland council gets $189M budget proposal

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Portland council gets $189M budget proposal

PORTLAND — The city manager presented a $189 million budget to the City Council this week, a 2.2 percent increase over the current budget.

The schools, meanwhile, presented a $91.3 million budget that actually seeks less in local tax money than this year, because of an increase in state aid to the schools. The proposal for 2010 calls for an increase of $1.8 million in spending, but a decrease of $880,750 in local tax reliance.

Manager Joe Gray said the city budget includes fee increases, switching to private contractor management at the Riverside Recycling Center, turning off 25 percent of the city's street lights and selling city property.

Under Gray's proposal, city employees would not get cost-of-living pay increases in 2010. A glitch in that plan appeared last week when police unions came out against such a move. In response, Gray said he would recommend eliminating six Police Department jobs. The budget also calls for eliminating six Fire Department jobs.

The proposal assumes the city will lose $2.3 million in revenue next year because of a decline in building permits and excise tax revenue. 

The property tax rate is proposed to increase 2.9 percent, or 25 cents per $1,000 property valuation, on the city side. But because the schools are seeking less in local money, the mil rate would increase only 4 cents per $1,000 of assessed value.

Gray said he is proposing several city fee increases, including a 25-cent increase per hour for metered parking. 

The city has been losing money at Riverside Recycling Center for the past few years because of underestimates of the of tonnage the center receives. The city is proposing to come to an agreement with Commercial Pavers for that company to take over more management of the facility. 

Reducing street lighting by 25 percent will save the city $225,000, according to Gray. The Department of Public Services will decide which lights will go dark.

The council Finance Committee was scheduled to begin review of the proposed budgets on Tuesday. The committee is also scheduled for a April 14 review session, beginning at 4 p.m. in Room 209 at City Hall.

The full council is scheduled to vote on the budget on May 18.

Kate Bucklin can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 106 or kbucklin@theforecaster.net.

 

More stories like this: budget, Portland Maine, 2010