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Cape Elizabeth council accepts flat municipal budget

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Cape Elizabeth council accepts flat municipal budget

CAPE ELIZABETH — Town Manager Michael McGovern presented an $8.5 million proposed budget for fiscal year 2011 to the Town Council Monday night with no tax increases, no spending increases and no reductions in service.

"We must be the envy of a lot of other communities," he said.

In addition to holding the line on taxes, McGovern said there are increases in the general assistance fund to help residents, Family Fun Day funds and technical changes that correspond to goals set by the council.

He said he was disappointed that there are no pay raises for personnel, but overall he is pleased with the budget.

The Finance Committee was expected to begin work on the budget Thursday, March 11, and continue Monday, March 15, and Tuesday, March 16.

In addition, councilors accepted and will review a report completed by the Cape Elizabeth Employee Health Insurance Review Committee. The report suggests significant savings if school and municipal employees share a common health benefit plan.

According to the report, the potential gross annualized savings to the schools an its employees, excluding cost sharing, could reach $359,000. On the municipal side, savings could be $18,000.

The report was submitted to both the Town Council and the School Board this week for review. It is also available on the town's Web site.

The Finance Committee will also review each of the recommendations proposed by residents at a Dec. 8, 2009, public forum. The suggestions that address municipal services will be reviewed over the next six months.

In other business, the council accepted proposed revisions to the zoning ordinance regarding agricultural operations in Cape Elizabeth. The Planning Board has reviewed the revisions, voted 7-0 to approve the changes and now the Ordinance Committee will review the recommendations.

According to a memo from the Planning Board, the amendments to the zoning ordinance "are intended to create more flexibility for Cape Elizabeth farmers with the goal of promoting farming by making it more economically viable and have been drafted with significant input from the Cape Farm Alliance."

Councilors also approved revisions to the zoning ordinance regarding density in the Town Center. Changes were recommended 2-1 by the Ordinance Committee and will be discussed at a public hearing April 12. 

Councilor David Sherman said the biggest change in the ordinance would increase density for multifamily housing in mixed-use buildings by allowing one unit per 3,000 square feet instead of one unit per 7,500 square feet.

"This alteration encourages development of these properties to make them more vibrant and viable to the owners," Sherman said. It also complies with the Comprehensive Plan, he said.

To view these documents, visit capeelizabeth.com and view council packets.

Amy Anderson can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 110 or aanderson@theforecaster.net