CUMBERLAND — Next year’s municipal budget could increase 4.1 percent, according to a draft spending plan Town Manager Bill Shane introduced in a workshop Monday.

The budget could add 31 cents to Cumberland’s current tax rate of $19.70 per $1,000 of property valuation. It does not take into account the town’s assessment from School Administrative District 51, which in fiscal 2019 made up nearly 70 percent of taxpayer bills.

The town’s approximately $420,000 budget increase – from $10.34 million this year to $10.76 million in fiscal year 2020 – would be due to several factors.

The largest increase, $165,000 in wages and benefits, would cover contracted union hikes for police and public services of 2 and 3.5 percent, respectively, a wage adjustment for all non-union workers of 2.75 percent, and a 10 percent insurance premium hike.

New positions, which add $68,100 to the budget, include a half-time detective and half-time paramedic, as well as two public services positions increasing from part- to full-time.

Most of the $77,500 increase in contracted services is due to a higher recycling assessment and increased tipping fees to the town from ecomaine, according to Assistant Town Manager Chris Bolduc.

A capital improvement program increase of $74,000 includes a $21,000 hike in equipment reserves and a nearly $50,000 rise in road paving. That program includes Forest Lake, Upper Methodist, Goose Pond, Rock Ridge, and White Tail roads, along with overlays on Middle Road and Main Street, Bolduc said.

Cumberland’s total tax rate has grown from $18.10 in fiscal year 2016 to $19.70, according to Shane. During that time, the municipal component shrunk from $5.38 to $5.29, but would rise to $5.59 next year if the town budget remained unchanged.

Shane is due to present his draft budget during the Monday, Feb. 25 Town Council meeting. Changes to the spending plan could occur the following weeks, with a public hearing on the budget in late March or early April. A council vote would come at that time as well.

Alex Lear can be reached at 780-9085 or [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter: @learics.

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