The Cape Elizabeth Town Council has voted 4-2, with Kathy Ray and Jessica Sullivan opposed, to adopt a combined municipal and school budget of $37.8 million, which could add 66 cents per $1,000 of valuation to the tax rate.

Overall, the budget represents a nearly 4 percent increase in spending, which Ray and Sullivan argued is unsustainable at a May 19 special meeting held especially for the council to vote on the new fiscal year school and municipal spending package.

The municipal budget is a little more than $12 million, and the school budget is nearly $24.3 million. Voters will have the final say on the school spending package during a referendum on June 14.

In all, taxes on a home valued at $300,000 would increase by $198 for the fiscal year that starts on July 1, Town Manager Mike McGovern said last week.

Council Chairwoman Molly MacAuslan told the Current this wee that while she understands the argument that the tax increase may be too much for some residents, she also said it’s the result of “a very thorough and deliberate process.”

She also said, “There were many opportunities along the way to object” to the overall spending. “There’s not a single elected official in town that is not always concerned with and has in mind the tax rate,” MacAuslan said. That’s because “we are paying these taxes, too.”

Some of the big impacts on the budget included a significant reduction in state aid to education, as well as increases in the county assessment, MacAuslan said.

While there were some last-minute objections to the budget, this week she said, “(In the end), I am very pleased with where the numbers came in.”


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