Cumberland council OKs budget, impact fee change

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CUMBERLAND — The Town Council on Monday unanimously approved the fiscal 2013 municipal budget and an amended impact fee ordinance.

The nearly $8 million fiscal 2012 spending plan will increase to $8.7 million beginning July 1. Most of the nearly $782,000 increase is in the capital side of the budget, which will see a climb from about $333,000 to about $896,000.

That increase is due largely to the town starting a more intense road improvement program.

The operating component of the municipal budget will increase from $7.6 million to $7.85 million. Increases in fuel contingency and abatements are factors behind that growth.

The fiscal 2013 budget for School Administrative District 51, which includes Cumberland and North Yarmouth, will not be approved by the public until June. But the proposed spending plan could cause Cumberland’s assessment to increase from $12.4 million this year to $13.2 million next year, a rise of 6.82 percent.

County taxes would increase 3.7 percent, from about $601,000 this year to about $623,000 in fiscal 2013.

Taking the municipal, school and county budgets in account, Cumberland could see a 4.75 percent increase in taxes, which would add 75 cents to the town’s current tax rate of $15.80 per $1,000 of property valuation.

This increase would raise the annual taxes on a $300,000 home from $4,740 to $4,965.

Impact fee ordinance

The Town Council voted last month in support of a change to the proposed amended impact fee ordinance. That finalized ordinance returned to the council Monday.

Every time a new residential property is built in Cumberland, the owner is charged a $100 growth management fee, as well as an impact fee of $1.36 per square foot beyond the first 500 square feet. The exemption will now increase to the first 1,000 square feet.

The growth management and impact fees have gone toward the cost of acquiring the Rines Forest in 2003, as well as improvements to the Twin Brook Recreation Facility.

The Planning Board had recommended reducing the impact fee to $1.09 per square foot, with a 500-square-foot exemption. That fee had fit with a reimbursement formula for already funded debt on Rines Forest and Twin Brook. But increasing the exemption to 1,000 square feet meant the formula had to be changed, resulting in an impact fee of $1.40, approved Monday as part of the amended ordinance.

Town Manager Bill Shane noted that under the old impact fee structure, a new 2,000-square-foot home would have incurred $2,040 in fees. But with the new structure, that home would be charged $1,400, a 41 percent decrease.

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

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.