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Chebeague Town Meeting OKs $2.9M budget for fiscal 2013

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Chebeague Town Meeting OKs $2.9M budget for fiscal 2013

CHEBEAGUE ISLAND — Residents approved a $2.88 million combined town and school budget Saturday at Town Meeting.

The meeting, held at the Chebeague Island Hall, drew 79 registered voters.

The $1.96 million municipal budget, down about $5,000 for fiscal 2013 as originally proposed, was amended once: an addition of $800 to the animal control officer budget, from $3,200 to $4,000. Officer Pam Pulsifer has received a $2,000 stipend for the position, but a majority of voters appreciated her work enough to give her an $800 raise, Town Administrator Eric Dyer said on Monday.

Other expenses in that budget line include animal sheltering and Pulsifer's training.

Chebeague's tax rate of $19.95 per $1,000 of property valuation could increase by 1.5 percent, depending on how much the town assessor budgets for overlay – buffer funds in case of unanticipated expenses, Dyer explained. The rate was $19.80 in fiscal 2011; in 2008, the town's first fiscal year after its secession from Cumberland,  the rate was $20.49.

The fiscal 2012 school budget of nearly $886,000 has climbed a total of 3.6 percent, to nearly $919,000. But more money is being carried forward from the undesignated fund balance than was used in fiscal 2012 – nearly $118,000 instead of $74,500 – to offset that increase.

Nearly $139,000 is coming from the state – about $8,400 less than the town received for fiscal 2012 – bringing the net school budget for fiscal 2013 to about $662,000, a 0.4 percent decrease.

Superintendent Alton Hadley has said the gross budget increase reflects the added tuition costs of sending more students to Yarmouth schools.

Last year, Chebeague authorized the gradual transition of its elementary school students to Yarmouth , instead of sending them to School Administrative District 51 (Cumberland-North Yarmouth).

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