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05/19/2016

Council adopts $37.9 million combined budget for 2016-17; school-budget validation set for June 14

The Town Council voted 4-2 on May 19 to adopt a $24.3 million school budget, part of a $37.8 million combined budget for 2016-17.

Overall taxes will rise 3.9 percent next year, from $16.88 to $17.54 per $1,000 of assessed valuation. A home valued at $300,000 would see a tax bill increase of $198.

Finance committee chair Kathy Ray and Councilor Jessica Sullivan voted against the school budget, against the $12 million town budget, and against adopting the combined budget that includes a $1.2 million county assessment.

"I think we need to slow this train of increases," said Sullivan, who was the only supporter of Ray's proposals to trim both town and school spending by 1 percent.

Councilors debated the budget proposals for nearly an hour before the final vote. All said they were concerned that tax increases were outpacing rates of inflation and cost of living, but the majority also said they believe the spending plans reflected the priorities of the community.

Town Manager Michael McGovern acknowledged that last year's town budget increase of 4 percent percent, driven by the library renovation, and this year's 3.8 percent increase were "unsustainable," and pledged to develop a 2017-18 town budget with tax-rate and spending increases less than half of this year's. He also said he would communicate to county officials concern over the 5.8-percent increase in county assessment.

The adopted school budget will add 46 cents to the property tax rate for next year, up 3.8 percent from this year's rate of $11.94 for school services. Details about the adopted school budget are available on the school department website.

In addition to the 2016-17 school budget validation, voters will be asked to confirm they wish to continue budget validation voting for the next three year.

The election will be held at Cape Elizabeth High School from 7 a.m.-8 p.m. Tuesday, June 14. A town referendum on improvements to the Recycling Center, and state primary elections, will be held at the same time.

Absentee voting is underway and will be available at Town Hall until Thursday, June 9.

Budget summary and tax impact: [download]

   FY 2016   FY 2017  $ Change % Change
   BUDGET   BUDGET  FY 16  to FY 17 FY 16  to FY 17
EXPENDITURES        
TOTAL MUNICIPAL  $    11,613,020  $    12,052,688  $            439,668 3.8%
COUNTY ASSESSMENT  $      1,171,612  $       1,247,048  $              75,436 6.4%
Local Homestead Exemption  $          199,200  $          312,000  $            112,800 56.6%
SCHOOL DEPARTMENT  $    23,536,649  $    24,287,545  $            750,896 3.2%
   $    36,520,481  $    37,899,281  $         1,378,800 3.8%
         
REVENUE        
TOTAL MUNICIPAL  $      4,748,749  $       4,950,000  $            201,251 4.2%
SCHOOL DEPARTMENT  $      3,627,183  $       3,433,270  $           (193,913) -5.3%
TOTAL  $      8,375,932  $       8,383,270  $                 7,338 0.1%
         
NET TO TAXES        
TOWN  SERVICES  $      6,864,271  $       7,102,688  $            238,417 3.5%
Local Homestead Exemption  $          199,200  $          312,000  $            112,800 56.6%
COUNTY ASSESSMENT  $      1,171,612  $       1,247,048  $              75,436 6.4%
SCHOOL DEPARTMENT  $    19,909,466  $    20,854,275  $            944,809 4.7%
TOTAL  $    28,144,549  $    29,516,011  $         1,133,045 4.0%
         
TAX RATES (Rounded to nearest ¢)        
 Local Homestead Exemption  $                0.12  $                 0.18  $                   0.06 50.0%
TOTAL MUNICIPAL  $                4.12  $                 4.22  $                   0.10 2.4%
COUNTY ASSESSMENT  $                0.70  $                 0.74  $                   0.04 5.6%
SCHOOL DEPARTMENT  $              11.94  $              12.40  $                   0.46 3.8%
TOTAL  $              16.88  $              17.54  $                   0.66 3.9%
       $                       -    
TAX RATE VALUATION BASIS   1,668,000,000   1,682,000,000  $ 14,000,000.00 0.8%