Yarmouth faces nearly 4% tax increase

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YARMOUTH — Town Manager Nat Tupper presented a preliminary $10.7 million fiscal 2012 municipal budget to the Town Council on Feb. 3.

The budget includes a $235,000, or 2.2 percent, increase in expenditures from the current year.

Tupper said town revenues have decreased about 2 percent and the total tax base is also smaller. The estimated the $31.5 million total budget would increase the property tax rate 75 cents, or 3.77 percent, to $20.55 per $1,000 of assessed value.

“There are no new programs and there is nothing eliminated. This budget shows nothing has changed,” Tupper said. “From this point, we need to see where we will take it.”

The Operations Committee, a committee of the whole council, met Monday, Feb. 7, to begin budget deliberations. Councilors offered no alternative to help offset the tax increase.

Councilor Carl Winslow said with declining town revenues, lack of construction projects and the decreasing value of Wyman Station, Yarmouth taxpayers could expect an increase in their bill. 

“While a 3 percent increase (in taxes) may not be that bad for some people, those on fixed incomes will have a hard time,” he said. “We have to think of those people.”

As part of the budget process, councilors will invite department heads to the upcoming Operations Committee meetings to discuss potential budget reductions and savings opportunities.

“For the past seven to nine years we’ve been cutting back,” Tupper said. “We have to make sure we can still get the job done and make sure service isn’t compromised.”

The Operations Committee will meet on Monday, Feb. 14, at 4 p.m. in the Community Room at Town Hall. The next Town Council meeting will be held on Thursday, Feb. 17, at 7 p.m. in the Log Cabin.

Amy Anderson can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 110 or aanderson@theforecaster.net