Cumberland officials are proposing a municipal budget that includes an increase of 9%, or $1 million over this year, for a $12.5 million spending plan.

If passed, the town-driven tax rate would increase 4.6% to $5.70 per $1,000 of real estate valuation from $5.45. The owner of a $500,000 home, which is around the average value in Cumberland, would see a $2,850 property tax bill, an increase of $125, which does not include the school or county budget. The current total tax rate, including the school and county, is $20.55.

The largest driver in the proposed town budget is new positions and salaries, up $488,000 to $4.8 million, including a 6% cost of living adjustment.

The town wants to add four full-time positions, including two paramedics, for a total of eight full-time paramedics/EMTs. The fire chief position would also transition to full-time. Fire Chief Daniel Small now works 27 hours a week and, if approved, he would switch to full time in September.

Having more full-time staff will put Cumberland in line with surrounding communities and enable it to delegate responsibilities evenly, Small said.

“The departments in the Greater Portland area are almost competing to hire full-time employees,” he said. “Per diem staff worked for a while, but that’s not as successful and we’re regularly forcing our full-time people to work extra shifts because we can’t fill in with part-time people.”

Town Manager Bill Shane said the increasing cost of gas and diesel may impact the town’s capital improvement program, specifically road paving. The total proposed for paving in FY23 is about $1.1 million.

“We do close to a million dollars in paving every year and I’m uncertain if we’re going to be able to do that this summer,” Shane said. “We may budget for that, but there’s a good possibility we’ll wait until next year when gas prices stabilize and we can get more value for our dollar.”

The finance committee will be holding budget workshops at 6 p.m. every Monday throughout March and on April 4 at Town Hall, located at 290 Tuttle Road.

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