Public hearing set for Cape Elizabeth budget

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CAPE ELIZABETH — The full scope of $32.2 million in school and municipal spending for fiscal 2013 will be open to comment at a 7 p.m. public hearing at Town Hall on April 26.

Councilors approved the hearing date at a special meeting on Wednesday.

The combination of school and municipal spending, and contributions to Cumberland County government, could boost local property taxes by 67 cents per $1,000 of assessed value to a tax rate of $15.85.

The needed taxpayer commitment to fund the budgets will increase from the current $24.93 million to $26 million. Town Manager Michael McGovern said the tax rate will not be set until Town Assessor Matthew Sturgis completes the annual property valuation.

Education spending is the largest share of the combined budgets, with a fiscal year 2013 projection of $21.76 million, requiring $18.92 million in property tax revenue. The education share of the tax rate is estimated to be $11.50 per $1,000 of assessed value, according to data presented by McGovern.

The budget presented by School Superintendent Meredith Nadeau increases spending by more than $600,000. The School Department is confronted with about $715,000 in lost federal and state revenue.

Some of the shortfalls are made up by using $480,000 in accumulated Medicaid funds and $250,000 in department surplus funds.

Spending for town services will be reduced by $54,000 to $8.86 million, a reduction that can be largely attributed to shifting salaries and benefits for employees of the Donald L. Richards Pool to the Community Services budget.

As a result, the Community Services budget will increase by $250,000 to $437,000. The shift also removes an anticipated $183,800 in pool revenues from the municipal budget.

McGovern budgeted an increase in excise tax revenues of $55,000. State revenue sharing remains constant at $622,000, but municipal revenues excluding property taxes are expected to decrease by $74,500 to $3.3 million.

Councilors approved the hearing date as the next step in the process of setting spending for fiscal year 2013, which begins July 1. The final council budget vote is scheduled for May 14. On June 12, the school budget will face a referendum vote by residents.

David Harry can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 110 or Follow David on Twitter: @DavidHarry8

Portland City Hall reporter for The Forecaster. Baltimore native, lived in Maine since 1989. A journalist since 2005, covering much of Cumberland and York counties. I joined The Forecaster in 2012.