SOUTH PORTLAND — A $81.8 million budget that increases the property tax rate about 1 percent won final approval from the City Council last night.

Councilors approved the budget by a vote of 6-0. Mayor Tom Coward was absent.

The budget, which includes municipal and school spending and county taxes, represents a 2.2 percent increase over the current budget of $79.9 million. The total amount that needs to be raised from taxes increased slightly over 1 percent from this year.

The new property tax rate is estimated to increase 16 cents to $14.86 per $1, 000 of assessed valuation. The owner of a property assessed at $213,000, the median in the city, would see an increase of $29.40 on the annual tax bill.

The budget eliminates fewer municipal positions than had been proposed earlier by City Manager James Gailey. The budget eliminates the equivalent of six vacant positions rather than 7.75 positions.

The vacant positions that will be eliminated are police detective, firefighter, public works custodian, part-time branch librarian, part-time finance motor vehicle position, recreation coordinator and senior parks maintainer. Hours were reduced for a children’s librarian and a bus driver.

The City Council restored a police officer position and a firefighter position that had been slated for elimination, put money toward hiring a deputy human resources director and provided a 1 percent cost-of-living adjustment to non-union employees.   

The $41.4 million school budget, which eliminates 25 positions, has already won approval from the City Council and voters.


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