Yarmouth residents may be facing a 10% property tax hike.

The increase is being driven by costs for new town positions, raises, debt service and expanding the capital reserve fund.

The $15.4 million spending plan is an increase of 7.6% over the current municipal budget, which is $14.3 million. It would add 48 cents to the property tax rate, bringing it to $20.28 per $1,000 of assessed property value, which is an increase of about 9.8%. The owner of a house worth $700,000 – the going price for a single-family home in Yarmouth, according to Portside Realty – would receive a $14,196 property tax bill, roughly $300 more than this year.

In comparison, there was a 33-cent increase in the municipal tax rate this year.

The town is just beginning its budget process and the figures do not include school spending.

The proposal includes $213,000 for hiring more per diem paramedics and increasing their hours to fill more shifts, an increase of $34,800. It’s not yet clear what the wages and hours will be raised to, but Town Manager Nat Tupper said it’s likely wages would go from about $15 to about $17 per hour.


The spending plan calls for making the fire inspector position a full-time fire inspector/EMT at a cost of $20,700.

A little over $36,000 has also been proposed for a part-time code enforcement officer.

About $173,000 has been budgeted for cost-of-living raises for town employees.

“For the moment, I am using a 4.0% cost of living adjustment assumption for both unionized and non-unionized staff for budget estimating purposes,” Tupper said. “Actual agreements and determinations will arise out of good faith negotiations.”

The town’s debt services is up $225,000, he said.

“That’s not a surprise. We voted in 2019 to increase our debt level for a new public safety building, some highway improvements and costs for the schools,” he said.


“There’s also an increase of about $100,000 going into the capital reserve account,” Tupper said. “Most of that is a request of the council in the capital improvement planning process.”

An increased allocation for capital reserves would not go toward projects scheduled for this year but would be made in anticipation of future needs, Tupper said, including a town-wide real estate revaluation and more facilities and parking to meet increased demand in town. Parks and facilities have seen more use over the last two years because people wanted to get outside more often during the pandemic.

Other costs include the fight against invasive insect species

Other proposed expenditures include curbing the effects of a statewide Emerald Ash Borer invasion.

“The community is very concerned about our loss of tree canopy in the face of both emerald ash borer invasions and some destruction we experienced in the past from browntail moths,” Tupper said. “We hope we’re not experiencing browntail moths on a significant scale this year, but we put another $30,000 into our tree program for treatments, removals or pruning and for planting new trees.”

“It’s always a difficult balancing act to prioritize and fund all the services our town expects while also keeping in mind the impact the property tax rate has on residents,” Council Chairperson April Humphrey said. “In recent years, council has made efforts to protect our lower-income seniors from increasing property tax rates by increasing the property tax rebate available to Yarmouth’s older residents … We have a really good, thoughtful group of councilors and we will work together to consider the town’s needs and make sure everyone’s voice is heard.”

The town council will hold budget meetings remotely every Monday at 6 p.m. in March and encourages residents to tune in. Links to live meetings and recordings, as well as the full budget proposal, can be found at yarmouth.me.us/towncouncil.

The council will vote on the town and school budgets May 5. The combined budget will come before the annual Town Meeting on June 7.

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