North Yarmouth draft budget shows 2.6% reduction

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NORTH YARMOUTH — The draft fiscal 2011 municipal budget, which faces a long review process before being approved in June, is 2.6 percent smaller than the existing budget.

The total budget proposed by Administrative Assistant Marnie Diffin is $2.25 million, compared with $2.31 million for fiscal 2010. Projected revenue is $1.25 million, a decline from $1.36 million this year.

About $1 million would be raised from taxes in the draft budget, about 5 percent more than the $956,000 levied in fiscal 2010.

These figures do not reflect the impact of the Cumberland County and School Administrative District 51 budgets. The current property tax rate, which does account for county and school assessments, is $11.95 per $1,000 of valuation.

The Budget Committee met Feb. 11 and wanted to begin the budget review process with a look at revenues before moving onto expenditures. Diffin said she expects that the Board of Selectmen could send the budget to Town Meeting in April with recommendations from both groups.

Voters at that June 12 meeting will decide the town’s municipal expenditures for next year.

Diffin, who has worked for the town for half a year, said “that doesn’t mean I know the nuisances of North Yarmouth. My job was to come out with a budget based on certain assumptions, and I did those assumptions and I did the numbers. But someone really has to make it ‘North Yarmouth.’ … My assumptions are my assumptions. Having only been here six months, they may be valid and they may be not.”

She said she looks forward to the Board of Selectmen and Budget Committee weighing in on which elements of the budget are most important.

Diffin has said septage disposal is one service the town may cut in next year’s budget. When residents pump their own septic tanks and take it to the Portland Water District septage field, the town has footed half the administrative cost and has budgeted about $7,500 for that purpose.

Whether the town continues to pay that cost, or shifts the expense to homeowners, will be decided in the months ahead.

Another cut in the draft budget is non-mandated staff training, while a household hazardous waste collection may no longer be free. While about $150,000 to $170,000 has been spent on paving in the past, Diffin has trimmed that line to about $85,000.

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.