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Portland Residents Approve Budget

Referendum passes easily despite low turnout.

 

Residents of Portland approved the Fiscal Year 2012-13 budget on Monday by a 356-205 vote.

The budget calls for $30,446,595 in spending and a 30.73 mill rate or a 0.47 mill increase. Overall spending will increase $630,794 or 2.12 percent.

With little feedback from residents during the budget process, it wasn't clear which way the vote would go. Last year the budget passed by 39 votes. This year, revaluation complicated matters some.

"I am glad to see that it passed," Selectwoman Kathleen Richards said, then added, "I wish that more voters had come out to vote."

Turnout was low. Only 560 people out of 5,747 eligible voted, under 10 percent. Last year wasn't much better, with 709 voting.

In the end, however, the town got what it wanted on the first try.

"I would think that everybody is happy," Richards said.

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That would include the board of education. The past two years, education had submitted a zero increase budget.

"This budget allowed us to keep all our staffing and services intact, which is very important to us," board of education member Andrea Alfano said.

The board of education’s request for $18.454 million was an increase of $358,000 or 1.98 percent, necessary to offset the loss of federal funds.

The budget will take effect July 1.

 

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