2012-05-18 / Community

Cape Elizabeth budget will go to voters June 12

By Michael Kelley Staff Writer

Without much fanfare, the Cape Elizabeth Town Council approved a $32.2 million municipal spending plan that includes $8.86 million for municipal departments and $21.76 million for the Cape Elizabeth school district.

The budget, a 2.6 percent, or $818,858 increase over last year, will raise the tax rate 67 cents, or 4.4 percent.

“This budget reflects the changing economy and the need to fund important activities and programs for the town and schools,” said Councilor Frank Governali in his motion to accept the municipal budget.

The town department spending plan, which is a reduction of $54,371 from last year’s budget, allocated $1.19 million for the police department; $297,640 for the fire department; $1 million in employee benefits; $934,344 in debt services; $360,648 for assessing/codes/planning; $1.06 million for public works; $512,916 for Thomas Memorial Library; $719,376 for refuse disposal and recycling and $250,317 for Fort Williams Park. The budget also appropriates $700,000 for capital improvements, including $293,000 for equipment replacement, $270,000 for road projects, $235,000 for building repairs and $20,000 for sidewalk improvement.

The school budget was approved by a 5-1 vote. Councilor Jessica Sullivan voted against the budget, but did not voice opposition to it at the meeting. Councilor Jim Walsh recused himself before the vote because his wife is a teacher in the school district.

The school budget, a $641,127 increase over last year, includes: $9.67 million for regular classroom instruction; $3 million for special education; $56,000 for career and technical education; $700,000 for other classroom instruction, $2.42 million for student and staff support, $661,800 for system administration; $1.01 million for school administration; $657,100 for transportation; $2.24 million for facilities maintenance and $1.32 million for debt service. An additional $216,670 will be allocated for adult education.

This year’s budget factors in the loss of $724,810 in state and federal subsidies and includes increases of $19,000 for middle school activities; more than $400,000 for staff salaries and benefits; $49,300 for facilities maintenance, $33,000 for athletics and $117,660 for instructional support. The budget also included reductions of $23,000 in staff development and $34,000 in debt services.

According to information on the website of the Cape Elizabeth School Department, the school budget is expected to continue to rise over the next few years to $22.53 million in 2013-2014 and $23.31 million in 2014-2015.

Voters will have a chance to say if they feel this year’s school budget is appropriate on June 12 when the town holds the school budget validation referendum. Voting will be held at in the gymnasium at Cape Elizabeth High School from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. and coincide with the state primary election.

Staff Writer Michael Kelley can be reached at 282-4337, ext. 237.

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