Property taxes in Cape Elizabeth could rise 3.6%

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CAPE ELIZABETH — If the fiscal year 2018 municipal budget Town Manager Matthew Sturgis presented Monday is adopted, property owners would see taxes rise 11 cents per $1,000 of valuation.

The proposed $12.2 million town budget for the year beginning July 1 is up 1.4 percent, or about $168,000.

Besides receiving the budget, the Town Council Monday referred an application for a cell tower on Wells Road to the Planning Board for review.

Sturgis said more money – about $33,000 – is being added to the budget to pay for another rescue employee, to reduce the strain on volunteers. And, as the town website states, “$10,000 is being transferred from the town’s general fund to the special rescue fund to help fund the 24/7 coverage expansion implemented this past year.”

The projected budget includes allocating $48,000 to contractual services for a part-time assistant in the town’s Facilities Department. To combat tree-scourge winter moths, $30,000 will be set aside.

Meanwhile, money coming into the town to help pay its bills is both up and down. Automobile purchases by residents and businesses are up and, in turn, excise taxes paid to Cape Elizabeth have increased.

The $54,000 the town of Scarborough had paid the town for shared assessing services is not included in budget revenue. That two-community plan ended when Sturgis, the former assessor for both towns, became Cape Elizabeth’s town manager.

For town, school and county taxes combined, a town report notes, a 3.6 percent increase is projected at this point. That represents a 63-cent increase on Cape Elizabeth’s current overall tax rate, which is now $18.17 per $1,000 of valuation.

Councilors voted Monday night to send the budget proposal to the Finance Committee, which is slated to review Sturgis’ budget March 21. Budget review continues through April.

A public hearing on the town budget is set for 7 p.m., May 8, in Town Council chambers, during the council’s regular meeting.

Councilors will hold a special meeting to vote on the 2018 budget May 15 at 7 p.m.

A citizen vote on the Town Council-adopted 2018 school budget is set for June 13. Residents registered to vote may do so in the gymnasium of Cape Elizabeth High School.

Cell tower

Councilor Penny Jordan recused herself from discussing an application by Global Signal Acquisitions to build a wireless communication facility on a Wells Road property because it is property she partly owns.

Jordan, Carol Anne Jordan, William H. Jordan Jr. and Pamela Butterfield jointly own the land at 19 Wells Road where a tower is proposed.

Global Signal wants to place an 180-foot monopole and fence in part of the Wells Road site with a 75-by-75-foot fence. 

The plan calls for replacing an existing communications facility on abutting property, according to a memo from Victor Manougian, Global Signal’s attorney.

The council referred Global Signal’s request to the Planning Board for review.

Lisa D. Connell can be reached at 781-3661, ext. 183 or lconnell@theforecaster.net. Follow Lisa on Twitter: @connell_ld.

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  • Mainer1

    We don’t need to be raising taxes in the town of Cape Elizabeth yet again! It has the highest taxes in the state and now we are raising them yet again and hurting hard working seniors in order to poison winter moths???

    • Darren McLellan

      That’s not true. In 2016 there were 8 communities including Portland, Gray and Durham, in Cumberland county that had higher rates.

  • beachmom H

    South Portland too! Just the school budget will drive taxes up. If that were the only budget presented, our taxes will be going up about 3.5%
    The School Board here in So. Portland is presenting a budget of almost $50 Million for 3100 students!!!
    More than $16,000 per student.

    Cape and So. Ptld. citizens need to stop voting for big spenders for their City Councils!