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04/29/2019

Proposed $42 million combined municipal budget for 2020 set for public hearing May 6

The Town Council will hold a public hearing on May 6, 2019 on a proposed $42 million combined municipal budget proposal for 2019-20. The proposed budget for town, school and county services is up 6.5 percent over this year, and poses a tax rate of $19.76, up 3.9 percent over this year. [jump to summary][download summary]

At the same meeting, the council will hold a public hearing on whether the town should begin charging fees to park at Fort Williams Park. [news article]. The draft budget includes an estimated $300,000 in revenue from the proposed fees, to be used used primarily to offset operational expenses of Fort Williams Park; long-term capital needs of the town; and, general municipal operating expenses. Without the budgeted revenue the tax rate would increase to $19.93, or 4.8 percent over this year.

A highlight of the overall budget is a $189,000 line for a school-facilities needs assessment, recommended by a study committee representing a wide range of community interests. The committee met four times this fall to tour school buildings and facilities, conduct interviews and to determine the need for a formal study. "Much attention was devoted to a similar proposal during last year's budget but was ultimately removed in part because there was a wish to involve a larger circle of stakeholders," said Susana Measelle Hubbs, chair of the School Board, at a budget presentation to the Town Council Finance Committee on April 24. The Facilities Needs Assessment Committee, which made this year's recommendation, comprised 45 members in all, including school staff and administrators as well as town government leaders, students and members of the public, she said.

Another highlight is an increase in state aid to education by more than $400,000 over last year. Elizabeth Scifres, head of the School Board's Finance Committee, said the increase was "great news" after decreases ranging from $550,000 to $900,000 over the previous three years. "It did not bring us back up to the level where we had been previously, or any other year in the past 10-15 years, however it did allow us to finally make some progress," Scifres said.

Members of both the School Board and the Town Council noted improved collaboration on this year's budget proposal. "In fact, this year (the process) not only started much earlier but also included a much larger number of people," said Measelle Hubbs. A subcommittee that included the chairs and finance chairs of the council and School Board, as well as the town manger, school superintendent and school business manager, met three times this fall and winter to exchange ideas and to find efficiencies.

An example is the town's contributing toward the purchase of a backup generator for the Pond Cove School, which houses computer hardware for both the town and the school, and combining it with purchase of a separate generator for the Thomas Memorial Library. "One of the things that we had talked about at the joint subcommittee level was, where there are opportunities on projects like this, to stop doing them as discreet individual projects," said Town Council Chair Jamie Garvin. "Where there are opportunities for efficiencies and cost-savings and just overall collaboration – this one stood out as one that was tailor-made for that," he said. The subcommittee is expected to continue meeting, Measelle Hubbs said.

The proposed 74-cent increase on the overall tax rate would add $259 to the bill on a home valued at $350,000. The final rate may be lower, however, as property values fluctuate and the Legislature finalizes decisions on revenue sharing and education funding throughout the summer, said Town Manager Matthew Sturgis.

Special Funds

The May 6 budget hearing will include nine additional special-fund budgets, with combined revenues of $3,464,314 and expenditures of $4,177,573.

Expenditures include those for the Cape Elizabeth Rescue Fund, Sewer Fund, Spurwink Church Fund, Riverside Cemetery Fund, Fort Williams Park Capital Fund, Portland Head Light Fund, Thomas Jordan Fund, Infrastructure Improvement Fund, Land Acquisition Fund and Senior Citizen Tax Relief, and $375,000 carried forward from the general fund.

The council is expected to vote on the special funds May 6, but to table the general-fund budget vote to May 13. The school portion of the budget is subject to a townwide validation vote on June 11.

Budget Summary
Fiscal Year  2020

         
  FY 2019 FY 2020 $ Change % Change
   BUDGET  BUDGET FY 19  to FY 20 FY 19 to FY 20
EXPENDITURES        
TOTAL MUNICIPAL  $      12,368,374  $      13,388,395  $        1,020,021 8.2%
COUNTY ASSESSMENT  $        1,392,240  $        1,456,670  $             64,430 4.6%
Local Homestead Exemption  $           300,000  $           300,000  $                    -   0.0%
SCHOOL DEPARTMENT  $      25,392,276  $      26,890,420  $        1,498,144 5.9%
   $      39,452,890  $      42,035,485  $        2,582,595 6.5%
         
REVENUE        
TOTAL MUNICIPAL  $        5,032,007  $        5,513,400  $           481,393 9.6%
FWP PAY AND DISPLAY REVENUE    $           300,000  $           300,000  
SCHOOL DEPARTMENT  $        1,768,977  $        2,098,487  $           329,510 18.6%
TOTAL  $        6,800,984  $        7,911,887  $        1,110,903 16.3%
         
NET TO TAXES        
TOWN  SERVICES  $        7,336,367  $        7,574,995  $           238,628 3.3%
Local Homestead Exemption  $           300,000  $           300,000  $                    -   0.0%
COUNTY ASSESSMENT  $        1,392,240  $        1,456,670  $             64,430 4.6%
SCHOOL DEPARTMENT  $      23,623,299  $      24,791,933  $        1,168,634 4.9%
TOTAL  $      32,651,906  $      34,123,598  $        1,471,692 4.5%
         
TAX RATES (Rounded to nearest ¢)        
 Local Homestead Exemption  $                0.17  $                0.17  $                    -   0.0%
TOTAL MUNICIPAL  $                4.27  $                4.39  $                0.11 2.6%
COUNTY ASSESSMENT  $                0.81  $                0.84  $                0.03 4.0%
SCHOOL DEPARTMENT  $              13.76  $              14.36  $                0.60 4.4%
TOTAL  $              19.02  $              19.76  $                0.74 3.9%
         
TAX RATE VALUATION BASIS  $ 1,716,471,800  $ 1,727,000,000  $  10,528,200.00 0.6%

Special Fund Budgets 2020

  Budget Estimated Budget Estimated Budget $ Change % Change
Expenditures FY 2018 FY 2018 FY 2019 FY 2019 FY 2020 2019 to 2020 2019 to 2020
Cape Elizabeth Rescue Fund   $   447,336  $   429,161  $   539,200  $   529,700  $   549,917  $      10,717 2.0%
Cape Elizabeth Sewer Fund  $2,099,300  $2,178,559  $2,161,346  $2,025,045  $2,112,871  $    (48,475) -2.2%
Spurwink Church Fund  $       9,209  $       7,990  $     10,491  $       6,859  $     10,491  $             -   0.0%
Riverside Cemetery Fund  $     57,328  $     54,235  $     66,589  $     59,362  $     56,043  $    (10,546) -15.8%
Fort Williams Park Capital Fund  $   264,135  $   258,885  $   173,246  $   170,398  $   290,975  $    117,729 68.0%
Portland Head Light Fund  $   560,643  $   615,663  $   628,035  $   635,000  $   670,241  $      42,206 6.7%
Thomas Jordan Fund  $     52,035  $     12,035  $     37,035  $     11,910  $     37,035  $             -   0.0%
Infrastructure Improvement Fund   $            -    $            -    $            -        $             -   #DIV/0!
Land Acquisition Fund   $            -    $            -    $   167,714  $   167,714  $            -    $   (167,714) -100.0%
Senior Citizen Tax Relief      $     75,000  $     65,000  $     75,000  $             -   0.0%
Use of General Fund carry Forward  $   317,400  $   317,400  $   375,000  $   375,000  $   375,000  $             -   0.0%
Total Budget  $3,807,386  $3,873,928  $4,233,656  $4,045,988  $4,177,573  $    (56,083) -1.3%
               
  Budget Estimated Budget Estimated Budget $ Change % Change
Revenues  FY 2018 FY 2018 FY 2019 FY 2019 FY 2020 2019 to 2020 2019 to 2020
Cape Elizabeth Rescue Fund   $   390,000  $   280,000  $   300,000  $   310,000  $   325,000  $      25,000 8.3%
Cape Elizabeth Sewer Fund  $2,028,300  $2,040,270  $2,032,300  $2,032,000  $2,040,300  $        8,000 0.4%
Spurwink Church Fund  $       4,700  $         900  $       1,200  $       1,200  $       1,200  $             -   0.0%
Riverside Cemetery Fund  $     44,300  $     69,000  $     67,000  $     68,000  $     66,000  $      (1,000) -1.5%
Fort Williams Park Capital Fund  $   201,355  $   204,225  $   199,800  $   216,700  $   270,700  $      70,900 35.5%
Portland Head Light Fund  $   576,000  $   676,000  $   636,000  $   708,900  $   688,200  $      52,200 8.2%
Thomas Jordan Fund  $     40,000  $     40,000  $     40,000  $     40,000  $     40,000  $             -   0.0%
Infrastructure Improvement Fund   $            -    $            -    $            -    $            -    $            -    $             -   0.0%
Land Acquisition Fund   $     32,914  $     32,914  $   112,914  $     32,914  $     32,914  $    (80,000) -70.9%
Total Revenues  $3,317,569  $3,343,309  $3,389,214  $3,409,714  $3,464,314  $      75,100 2.2%