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N. Yarmouth budget could drop 9.5%, taxes could rise 4%

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N. Yarmouth budget could drop 9.5%, taxes could rise 4%

NORTH YARMOUTH — Next year's municipal budget could drop 9.5 percent, but reduced revenues could cause town taxes to increase 4 percent.

Those numbers are based on a Board of Selectmen recommendation to spend $2.4 million in fiscal 2014, an approximately $253,000 reduction from the current budget.

A loss in municipal income, from $1.8 million to $1.5 million, is built into that recommendation, resulting in a municipal tax appropriation of about $926,000, up from nearly $891,000 in fiscal 2013.

Due to a revaluation going on this year, the tax rate impact may not be known until July, Administrative Assistant Marnie Diffin said last week.

Adding in about $273,000 in Cumberland County tax (up from nearly $255,000), about $34,000 in overlay, and a proposed $5.7 million School Administrative District 51 tax (up from $5.5 million), North Yarmouth's total tax appropriation could rise from the current $6.7 million to $7.3 million next year.

The Board of Selectmen and Budget Committee recommend different expenditures in several line items. Under Public Works, the Budget Committee is calling for about $633,000 to be spent, which includes paving North Road. The Board of Selectmen favors that, along with another $45,000 to be spent on a "chip sealing" process for Town Farm Road.

In chip sealing, coarse rock is laid instead of asphalt. It is noisier to drive on and not as smooth a surface, but costs significantly less than normal pavement, Diffin said. It has not been used in North Yarmouth.

"We wanted to try it on a road that had traffic, but not too much; houses on it, but not too close to the road," she said.

North Yarmouth is budgeted to receive $185,000 for the current fiscal year in state revenue sharing. The Board of Selectmen is planning for revenue of $150,000 for next year, while the Budget Committee plans for $100,000.

On the other hand, the Board of Selectmen wants to use $150,000 out of the Unassigned Fund Balance, down from the current $230,000, while the Budget Committee wants to use $190,000.

One significant added expense proposed in next year's budget is the first phase of a proposed economic development plan, the goal of which is to turn a triangular area in the center of town into a more visible, active and inviting town center. The project would cost $152,000, but legal fees raise that amount to $155,000, which would be funded through a multi-year bond.

Also in the budget is $45,000 to have an architect determine the cost to renovate Wescustogo Hall. That work would be funded by a bond if approved by a special Town Meeting vote, Diffin said.

One factor causing the net budget decrease is the completion of Mill Road reconstruction, which was a $250,000 expenditure in the current budget.

Residents will vote on the municipal budget item by item at the June 15 Town Meeting.

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