Proposed South Portland municipal budget up $1.2M

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SOUTH PORTLAND — City Manager Jim Gailey has proposed a new fiscal year municipal budget of nearly $32.6 million, an increase of $1.2 million from this year’s spending of $31.3 million.

Added to the proposed new school budget of $47.8 million, taxpayers could see an increase to the tax rate of 53 cents per $1,000 of valuation, he told the City Council Monday.

In all, Gailey said in his budget message, the combined $98.2 million budget, which also includes the city’s share of what it costs to run Cumberland County, represents an increase in spending of 2.75 percent.

He said the increases to the municipal budget are “largely in building maintenance, vehicle/fleet related, utilities and personnel.”

Gailey is recommending three new positions and has also responded to a City Council request to determine how much it would cost to add Sunday service to the city’s bus routes. The new positions would be a recreation superintendent, a new laborer for public works and a part-time safety coordinator.

“Over the last number of years we have reduced the administration of the Parks and Recreation Department to a point that it may have gone too deep,” Gailey said. “Six years ago we had six administrators. Today we have three. After reviewing the department, I feel that it is important to re-establish the recreation superintendent position, creating some administrative capacity and budget oversight within the Recreation Division.”

He said the Public Works Department has “had a tough time bringing on temporary help during winter and summer seasons. As the department is doing more and more projects in-house, a need is there to establish a suitable, consistent workforce.”

Gailey said it would cost about $153,000 to add Sunday bus service, the majority of which would be offset by federal funding.

There was no discussion of the budget, but the council will begin deliberations during a workshop at 5 p.m. Monday, March 28, at City Hall.

Councilors also set a public hearing on the combined municipal and school budget for 7 p.m. Wednesday, April 6.

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