Mild winter helps trim proposed Cumberland budget

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CUMBERLAND — The Town Council is scheduled Monday, March 28, to vote on next year’s municipal budget.

The fiscal 2017 spending plan reflects a 0.61 percent tax increase, adding 11 cents to the town’s current tax rate of $18.50 per $1,000 of property valuation.

A 3.7 percent Cumberland County tax increase – from about $747,000 to $775,000 – adds another cent. The numbers do not include an assessment to be determined by School Administrative District 51.

Budget information is available on the town’s Finance Department page at cumberlandmaine.com.

Last month’s preliminary municipal budget proposal projected a 3.6 percent hike from  $10.35 million to $10.73 million next year. But another $215,000 was shaved from the budget at a workshop on Saturday, March 19 – $135,000 from paving in the capital budget, $75,000 from debt service, and $10,000 from contingency.

As a result, a 25-cent increase to the tax rate has been reduced to 11 cents, Town Manager Bill Shane said in an interview Monday.

Due to the relatively mild winter, necessitating less overtime and gas for road maintenance than expected, the town had enough end-of-year surplus funds to allow Saturday’s cuts, Shane explained.

“We’re basically using some of our savings to offset the tax increases for next year,” he said.

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.