Proposed tax increase is 2.37 percent in Cumberland

Proposed tax increase is 2.37 percent in Cumberland

But lots still to be determined

CUMBERLAND – Mayor Jeffrey Mutter is proposing a 2021-2022 town budget with a 2.37 percent tax increase, but the likelihood that the number remains the same when the town sets the tax rate next April is quite small.

Mutter told The Breeze that federal stimulus funds, which are still in the process of being sorted out in terms of how they can be used, are not included in his proposal. There are also a number of other moving parts, he said this week.

The proposal, which was due by Monday, May 10, now goes to the Town Council for consideration.

Because of Cumberland’s unusual unsynchronized tax year, the Town Council didn’t finalize the 2020-2021 tax rate until April 14, at $14.74. That was an increase on the rate of 42 cents per $1,000 of property tax value, from $14.32 to $14.74. It was an increase of 2.93 percent on the tax rate and 2.95 percent on the tax levy, or total amount collected in taxes.

For the owner of a home valued at $300,000, that’s a property tax increase of $126 for the year. Mutter said the administration had pegged the new tax rate at $14.65, but the council wanted to reduce dependence on fund balance (savings) and took $150,000 off of that item, “a good, sound financial move,” said Mutter.

The 2.37 percent proposed increase in the tax rate for the next fiscal year adds up to a 2.77 percent increase on the tax levy, but it won't be finalized until next spring.

Mutter said his budget includes an increase of $848,000 to town schools, about $1 million less than what school officials had been asking for at a full 4 percent allowable increase, but there are still some items to be sorted out, including $300,000 for capital projects and another $400,000 set aside for schools in case there is a major issue in the coming year. The same thing was done with $400,000 for the 2020-2021 fiscal year, Mutter said, and the schools didn’t end up needing that money.

By not making the $400,000 part of the school budget going forward, said Mutter, local taxpayers are not on the hook for that amount from here on under the state’s maintenance of effort rules.

There are also some other moving pieces, said the mayor, including asking the state to hold off for a year on requiring new curriculum expenses.

The entire budget is subject to change as the town sorts out where it is with federal stimulus funding, which has been pegged at $10.5 million to Cumberland.

Mutter said a big motivation for him with this budget was wanting to maintain and build on the gains that educators have made while not yet knowing the guidelines for federal education dollars coming to the town. He said there are definitely still some unknowns here, and his proposed contribution to the schools was an attempt to find some middle ground as the town gets a better understanding of funding sources over the next couple of months.

The mayor said his proposed budget puts the town in a good position for borrowing on an $83 million school bond, which will start in 2022.

Cumberland is receiving less now in state education aid dollars than it was in 2019, said Mutter, and mandated costs in the district continue to go up. Wanting to maintain educational gains while losing state aid is a “difficult math problem,” he said, adding that he appreciates the relationship town and school officials continue to maintain in helping each other out.

Comments

What else is new ?

How about no tax increase this year, with all of the new building in town, that is not enough to make up the difference?

Use the new Covid money to offset and let us keep our hard earned money, that could stimulate the economy

With all of the new construction in Town as well as the inflated rea estate prices I am not sure why we have to raise taxes, there should be plenty of money. Additionally, the Town will be receiving the Federal money, how about giving the taxpayers a break for one year, there is a thought.
Is anyone listening.

to answer your question,,no,,,no one is listening

You deserve this because you keep voting Democrat. Democrat increase new taxes. GOP cut taxes and cut wasteful spending. Think about it. Time to change in 2022.