Cumberland faces 4.5% budget increase, 3% tax hike

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CUMBERLAND — The town’s total budget – including municipal, county and school expenses – could rise nearly $985,000 to $22.9 million next year, an increase of nearly 4.5 percent.

The current tax rate of $16.55 per $1,000 of property valuation could rise next year to $17.05, an increase of approximately 3 percent. School costs would account for 35 cents of the 50-cent increase, Town Manager Bill Shane said.

Shane noted that Cumberland’s gross budget increase is being offset by about $343,000 of new value, resulting in a nearly $642,000 net increase.

The Town Council plans to hold a public hearing on the fiscal year 2014 municipal budget Monday, March 25, and may vote on the municipal spending plan that night.

Cumberland’s assessment to School Administrative District 51 – where it partners with North Yarmouth – accounts for most of the increase. That expense could rise 5.29 percent, to $13.9 million, Shane said last week.

The municipal spending plan is projected to increase to $8.4 million, a nearly $263,000 hike. The capital improvements portion accounts for the bulk of the increased town spending; the operating side of the municipal budget would increase just half a percent. Cumberland’s road paving program constitutes most of the nearly $238,000, or 2.72 percent, capital expenses hike.

Cumberland County taxes could reach nearly $666,000, an increase of 6.78 percent.

The March 25 Town Council meeting will be held at Town Hall at 7 p.m.

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

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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.