Portland budget approval, 2% tax hike, a quiet affair

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PORTLAND — The City Council Monday evening approved a nearly $202 million municipal budget for fiscal year 2012, an increase of about 1.2 percent over current spending.

The municipal budget, combined with the previously approved school budget of $89.5 million, will increase the property tax rate 2 percent to $18.24 per $1,000 of assessed value.

This year’s municipal budget did not include any layoffs or service cuts, and drew little public comment. Councilor John Anton, the chairman of the Finance Committee, said the committee concentrated this year on developing policy for city budgeting and spending, and will continue to do so.

“This was a year of stability,” he said, referring to the nearly status quo budget. In the 2009, 2010 and 2011 budgets, more than 100 jobs were eliminated. Services were cut during those years, too, and city departments were combined.

Councilor David Marshall said that although the tax rate will rise, there was no increase in 2010 and a 1 percent increase in 2011.

“Combined we’ve had a 1 percent increase in the last three years,” Marshall said. “That’s not bad.”

Councilor Cheryl Leeman called it “a very responsible budget.”

The council unanimously approved the fiscal year 2012 budget, 9-0.

Kate Bucklin can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 106 or kbucklin@theforecaster.net Follow her on Twitter: @katebucklin.