North Yarmouth hopes to avoid tax increase in upcoming budget

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NORTH YARMOUTH — The Board of Selectmen is aiming for a fiscal 2011 budget that triggers no increase in taxes,  Administrative Assistant Marnie Diffin said last week.

But that doesn’t necessarily mean a homeowner will pay less, she noted.

For instance, if 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, Diffin said. If the town decides to no longer pay that cost, though, that expense would be shifted to the homeowners.

Septage disposal is one service the town may cut as it frames its fiscal 2011 budget, she said.

“Last year they budgeted $14,000 for hazardous waste cleanup,” Diffin added. “If we do that again, it may be that you have to pay to bring it here. So that may be a shift.”

Diffin pointed out that reduced revenue from the state will reduce the town’s ability to avoid a tax increase without having to cut funding for some services.

Still, North Yarmouth is only at the start of its budget process and has yet to hammer out specifics. The Board of Selectmen, knowing that School Administrative District 51 is seeing a significant reduction in state aid, is trying to keep the town’s end of taxation flat, Diffin said.

She said she has heard that the third component of the overall budget, the county, may be flat, but that is proportioned based on a town’s state valuation.

The current, fiscal 2010 budget contained no tax increase on the town side, Diffin said, noting that a property tax rate increase came from the school side.

The fiscal 2010 budget, including all three components, was $6.9 million, she said. The town spent $6.5 million the previous year. The town spent $2.4 million on its portion of the budget in fiscal 2009, and budgeted $2.36 million on that portion for fiscal 2010. North Yarmouth’s school assessment between the two years increased $461,000, Diffin said, and the county assessment increased $10,000.

North Yarmouth pays about a third of the SAD 51 budget, while Cumberland pays about two-thirds, Diffin said. The proportion is dictated by state valuation of the towns.

The town’s Budget Committee is due early next month to conduct its first full review of Diffin’s fiscal 2011 budget proposal. The committee is scheduled to recommend a proposal to the Board of Selectmen on April 2, and selectmen will put the budget on the warrant for the June 12 Town Meeting.

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.