Early Cumberland budget would keep tax-rate growth almost flat

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CUMBERLAND — A preliminary version of the next municipal budget would add 2 cents to the tax rate, an increase of less than 1 percent, Town Manager Bill Shane said last week.

Expenses could increase about $950,000, due largely to costs from the Val Halla Golf & Recreation Center and adult education being shifted into Cumberland’s general fund. The town already funds those programs, which are offset significantly by revenues.

A 1.4 percent bump in the operating budget is also part of that increase.

But the expense hike would be offset by about $772,000 in revenues, resulting in a net municipal budget increase of about $178,000. New property values from tax base growth also help offset that increase, shaving it to nearly $22,000, according to Shane.

The municipal budget, which now encompasses about 29 percent of Cumberland’s tax rate distribution, would add 2 cents to that rate, raising it to $17.42 per $1,000 of property valuation. An approximately $51,000 Cumberland County tax increase would add another 3 cents, Shane said.

The county tax makes up about 3 percent of the tax rate distribution. The impact on Cumberland’s budget from School Administrative District 51 – which accounts for about 67 percent of the distribution – is still unknown.

Next year’s municipal spending plan could be $10.4 million, an increase of 10.6 percent, which would include an $8.9 million operating budget, a $747,000 county tax, and the addition of Val Halla and adult education.

The budget is under review by the Finance Committee, and may be voted on by the Town Council in April.

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.