Cumberland Town Council approves municipal budget

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CUMBERLAND — The Town Council unanimously approved the proposed fiscal 2011 municipal budget Monday night.

The $7.99 million budget is a 0.34 percent decrease from the current year, on expected revenues of $3.63 million – a nearly 1 percent decline.

The projected impact on the property tax rate is a 0.07 percent increase, not including the school budget. Town Manager Bill Shane said his budget should ultimately result in no increase in taxes on the municipal side, because he is continuing to look for additional ways to save money.

With both the town and county budget increases at zero percent and given preliminary budget numbers from School Administrative District 75, Shane said he expects a tax rate increase from $14.55 per $1,000 of valuation to $15.35, a rise of 5.5 percent.

Shane’s budget calls for no employee layoffs; the first annual bond payment for the Route 88 improvement project; no salary increases for union workers; a 2 percent salary increase for non-union employees; fewer capital projects for a year; funding a replacement ambulance and a lease purchase for a new plow truck.

The budget also proposes an increase in trash bag fees, effective June 1.

The cost of 20-gallon bags would rise from $1 to $1.50, and 33-gallon bag prices would increase from $1.50 to $2.50. The changes – the first since the pay-per-bag program began in September 2005 – are meant to bring Cumberland’s fees more in line with those of surrounding towns.

A public hearing on that proposal will be held April 12.

Alex Lear can be reached at 373-9060 ext. 113 or

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.