RAYMOND – The Raymond Board of Selectmen has presented a municipal budget without a tax increase for the seventh consecutive year.

“We have done everything we can to keep the budget down,” said Selectman Joseph Bruno. “We just got the word on Friday that Dielectric is closing, so there’s going to be some agony among Raymond residents. Keeping the budget down is important.”

Residents will see an increase in the municipal budget of $683,102 to $4,326,612, but the increase will be paid for by the sale of the Crown Castle cell site on Patricia Avenue and will not cost the taxpayers additional money, officials say.

The budget as proposed is dependent on two articles that will be presented at the annual town meeting in June. Article 10 calls for a perpetual easement of the Crown Castle cell site for a one-time fee of $900,000. Article 38 directs $705,000 of that money into the 2013-2014 budget.

“The whole budget is basically dependent on the Crown Castle referendums,” said Selectman Charles Leavitt. “We will use $705,000 from the sale of the cell tower land to up the budget at no cost to the taxpayers. If those articles do not pass, we will have to scrap the budget and start over.”

Bruno did not foresee that happening.

“I believe the bond issues will be supported,” said Bruno. “We have run a very tight ship in Raymond, and there is no reason to cut the budget back if we can make repairs and improvements without raising taxes.”

In addition to the municipal budget, Cumberland County taxes will total $627,814, an increase of $38,705. The Raymond-Windham school budget has yet to be finalized but initial estimates peg the increase at 2.2 percent.

Overall, Town Manager Don Willard is happy with the budget and the work of the selectmen.

“This is the seventh consecutive year the Board of Selectman has kept municipal taxes flat and under LD 1,” said Willard. “I’m happy to report they have held the line on the municipal portion of the property tax for Raymond again this year.”

Leavitt admits it isn’t always an easy job.

“This budget went back five or six times before we got it right,” said Leavitt. “Some people would rather see more money spent in one place than another and sometimes that means you have to go back and take a second look. It took some time, but we finally did it.”


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