Proposed Cape Elizabeth school, municipal budgets up 4%

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CAPE ELIZABETH — Superintendent of Schools Meredith Nadeau has proposed a 4 percent school budget increase for fiscal year 2017, while Town Manager Mike McGovern has proposed a 3.8 percent municipal increase.

The $24.4 million school budget, which was presented to the School Board Tuesday night, has an increase of more than $923,000 from the current year. It would increase taxes by 5.7 percent, or 68 cents per $1,000 of valuation.

The largest portion of the budget is staff salaries and benefits, which accounts for 80 percent of the budget. Also, insurance premiums are expected to rise 8 percent, according to Nadeau.

Revenue is projected to decline 10.7 percent, due largely to a reduction in state aid. The Department of Education in January estimated that Cape Elizabeth would receive a state subsidy of $2.43 million, which is a decrease of 29 percent from this year, according to the town website. Factors contributing to the state’s decision include Cape Elizabeth’s rising property values and declining school enrollment.

The School Board will meet March 15 for a budget workshop.

McGovern has proposed a budget of $12.3 million for fiscal year 2017, which he will present to the Town Council on March 14. The budget proposes an increase of over $443,600 from the current year. This would increase taxes by 2.4 percent, or 10 cents per $1,000 of valuation.

Personnel costs make up 49 percent of the proposed budget, and debt services make up 21 percent, including $141,000 in new payments on the principal amount borrowed for $1.4 million in upgrades to the Recycling Center.

Another addition to next year’s budget is Community Services, which will be transferred from the School Department to the town July 1. Since the Community Services budget has not yet been prepared, McGovern added its current budget of $1.8 million to his budget proposal for now.

He also factored in the cost of adding more support for senior citizens, which was a request of the Senior Citizen Advisory Committee.

“(The budget proposal) also includes providing for one Community Services professional to work full time on seniors’ issues and programs, and to then have an administrative assistant move from half time to full time to fill in the gaps as a result of the seniors’ position now being dedicated as full time,” McGovern said on the town website.

Other expenses include $48,000 for repairs at Fort Williams Park, $30,000 to assist with staffing in the Rescue Department, and $16,000 in custodial services for maintaining the newly renovated Thomas Memorial Library.

After the March 14 presentation, the Town Council Finance Committee will meet on March 21 and 22 to discuss the budget. There will be a public hearing on the budget on May 9, and the Town Council will vote May 23.

The school budget will be voted on by residents at referendum on June 14.

Kate Gardner can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 125 or kgardner@theforecaster.net. Follow her on Twitter: @katevgardner.

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I'm a reporter for The Forecaster covering Freeport, Yarmouth, Chebeague Island, and Cape Elizabeth. I'm from a small town in NH no one's ever heard of. When not reporting, I can be found eating pasta and reading books, often at the same time.
  • Mainer1

    Ok, here we go again. The highest taxes in the state going ballistic and with a shrinking school enrollment every year. Cape received an additional $1million last year and now they want even more with 30 less students??? Vote No- enough is enough- No fiscal discipline. No wonder all the seniors have moved out.

  • farmertom2

    The proposed increase is extremely modest. Too bad about state funding– but that’s thanks to Gov Crackpot.