Cumberland municipal budget hike could exceed 4%

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CUMBERLAND — Capital improvements and debt service for a new town and school garage are big parts of a potential municipal budget increase of nearly 4.2 percent for fiscal 2015.

The nearly $351,000 hike, to a total budget of $8.75 million, includes an approximate $200,000 rise in capital improvement expenses, an increase of 2.21 percent.

The municipal budget as proposed would increase taxes by 1 percent.

The Town Council discussed the proposed spending in a workshop Monday, and another will be held March 10. An all-day workshop will be held March 15, followed by a public hearing or workshop March 24, and a council vote on the spending plan April 14.

The Cumberland County assessment is due to rise about $30,000, a 0.34 percent impact on the budget. The School Administrative District 51 assessment on Cumberland and North Yarmouth has yet to be determined.

Cumberland’s road improvement program comprises most of the capital improvements spending.

About $587,000 would be spent on paving, part of a multi-year comprehensive pavement management plan. Another $75,000 would go toward Middle Road engineering, $175,000 toward engineering and construction of Blackstrap Road, and $50,000 toward Schooner Ridge Road drainage.

Debt service for a new town and school garage could add another $94,000. The town may go out to bid in fiscal 2015 to build that structure, although a location for the garage has not been determined.

In Phase 2 of the Village Green Revitalization Master Plan, the current Public Works and school bus facilities would be moved and replaced by single-family, townhouse-like homes, along with a mixed-use building that would contain residential rentals and commercial space.

The operating side of the municipal budget could increase by about $40,000, a less than half percent impact on the budget. Salary increases of 2 percent are included in the proposed spending plan.

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.