CUMBERLAND — The Town Council on April 8 unanimously approved a $10.8 million budget that, along with school and county assessments, could raise taxes about 1%.

The town’s tax rate could increase from $19.70 per $1,000 of property valuation to $19.90. The 20-cent increase – down from 50 cents at the beginning of the budget process – would add $70 to the tax bill of a home assessed at $350,000.

Further anticipated growth in the town’s value in the coming months could reduce that hike, Town Manager Bill Shane said Monday.

“There’s a good possibility we’ll be down to 15 cents,” he said.

Of the $19.90 rate, $5.61 comes from the town budget, $13.63 from the School Administrative District 51 assessment, and 66 cents from the Cumberland County assessment, Shane said.

A budget public hearing Monday night drew no public comment, with only one resident in the audience.

The town’s nearly $478,000 budget increase – from $10.34 million this year to $10.82 million in fiscal year 2020 – is based on several factors.

The largest increase, $165,000 in wages and benefits, covers contracted union hikes for police and public services of 2 and 3.5%, respectively, a wage adjustment for all nonunion workers of 2.75%, and a 5.4% insurance premium hike.

New positions, which add about $78,000 to the budget, include a half-time detective and full-time paramedic, as well as two public services positions increasing from part to full time.

Most of the $77,500 hike in contracted services is due to a higher recycling assessment and increased tipping fees to the town from ecomaine. It is the first solid waste and recycling bump in more than five years, Shane said.

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, according to Assistant Town Manager Chris Bolduc.

The budget also includes $50,000 for the town’s senior tax rebate program.

An anticipated $5.1 million in non-property tax revenues, reflecting a 1.5% increase, helps offset expenses. Included in that is $503,000 in state municipal revenue sharing, up 11%. Recreational revenues are also rising from $818,000 to $918,000.

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

Cumberland Town Manager Bill Shane explains the impact on town taxes from next year’s budget at a public hearing Monday, April 8.

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