Turnout was light at the polls Tuesday in Cape Elizabeth, as voters approved by a wide margin the proposed $29 million school department budget for 2021-2022. Town Clerk Debra Lane estimated approximately 5% of the town’s registered voters showed up at the polls. Sean Murphy / The Forecaster

Cape Elizabeth voters approved the school department’s proposed $29.9 million 2021-2022 budget on Tuesday, with Town Clerk Debra Lane reporting a quiet day at the polls.

The vote was 294-145, Lane said.

The budget, which received its blessing from the town council May 10, accompanies the municipal budget of $16.8 million also approved by the council.

Town Manager Matt Sturgis said the combined gross budget, including the county portion, stands at $48.4 million. That budget, he said, after factoring in revenues, requires raising $35.9 million in taxes, a 2.86% increase over last year. Based on the current rate of $19.92 per $1,000 of home value, Sturgis said, the rate will go up 57 cents. For the owner of a $300,000 home, he said, that amounts to a $171 increase to the annual tax bill.

At about midday Tuesday, a reporter saw only two residents come in to cast their votes, while Lane and her staff stood by.

“Everythying’s good,” she said at the time. “A few more hours to go.”

With 439 votes cast in a town with more than 8,000 registered voters, Lane estimated a voter turnout of 5%. There were no other official decisions before voters this week, with municipal and school board elections slated for this fall, but Lane did post results website of a non-binding expression of opinion on the school budget. A total of 168 voters said the budget was “too high,” with 203 classifying it as  “acceptable” and 66 labeling it “too low.” There were two blanks.

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