Town faces $500K shortfall for 2010 budget
CAPE ELIZABETH — The town's Finance Committee will have to overcome a $500,000 drop in revenues as it reviews the 2010 budget, a task made more difficult as it tries to avoid new fees or increased property taxes for town services.
Those expectations for the upcoming budget season were laid out by Town Manager Michael McGovern at the most recent Town Council meeting in preparation for its first Finance Committee meeting in January.
The expected $517,000 shortfall will come from a combination of decreased excise and non-property tax revenues as well as pressures to increase some areas of the budget.
According to McGovern's report, non-property tax revenues are expected to fall $361,000 – a drop of about 10 percent of revenue not including property taxes. Excise tax revenue is projected to fall $170,000, and state revenue sharing is anticipated to be $58,000 less than 2009 figures.
The town is also facing an estimated $200,000 increase in spending. Those increases include upping employee contracts and benefits and $68,000 of funding for the town fitness center. Privatization efforts for the fitness center failed this year, forcing the service to remain under town funding despite being unbudgeted.
New property valuations are expected to balance some of the decreases in revenue, bringing the challenge back down to $517,000.
McGovern outlined goals for the upcoming budget process, including:
•Clearly defining achievable budget savings.
• No tax increases and no new fees other than slight adjustments where appropriate.
• Reviewing the potential for significant structural changes in how services are delivered.
• Focusing on services the town provides well rather than spreading funds across those done less well.
The Finance Committee will begin 2010 budget discussions at its Jan. 6 meeting, and is expected to hold a public forum later on for the public to comment on priorities and suggestions for addressing next year's fiscal challenges.
Sarah Trent can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 108 or email@example.com.