County budget panel trims 5 percent from proposed budget increase

By George Chappell | Nov 20, 2012

Rockland — Knox County budget officials cut 5 percent from the proposed increase in the 2013 spending package Tuesday night, Nov. 20, by reducing expenditures and came up with a budget of $6,643,388, or 4 percent more than last year.

Originally, the county had been considering a 9 percent budget increase.

The combined budget panel of three Knox County Commissioners and eight Budget Committee members concluded five sessions and brought the new figure down to 4 percent from the 2012 budget, with the help of a $175,000 surplus to reduce the tax commitment.

County Administrator Andrew Hart had attributed the increase to the first-year principal and interest payment of $237,354 on the $2.5 million bond for renovating the public safety building at 301 Park St. in Rockland. That building will house the sheriff's office, Emergency Management Agency, and county dispatch office once renovations are done.

The financing rate on the bond is 1.866 percent and is expected to cost $25,000 in interest over the 15-year life of the bond, Hart said.

A public hearing on the budget will be held at Tuesday, Dec. 11 at 6 p.m. at the Knox County Courthouse, followed by scheduled votes by the Budget Committee and the County Commission on the same night for final approval.

County Commissioner Roger Moody of Camden said the process might sound cumbersome, but officials are following the steps laid out in the county charter.

The panel reduced spending by cutting the Time & Tide RC & D proposal of $3,625. A grassroots nonprofit organization established by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Time & Tide ran into difficulty with its request when presenter Vance Wells did not explain the budget thoroughly and the budget committee asked for a “definition of what the funds are for.”

The group also had a philosophical debate whether to put money aside for surplus, but decided to let the matter alone for another year when there is more time.

Courier Publications reporter George Chappell can be reached by phone at 207-594-4401, ext. 117, or by email at gchappell@courierpublicationsllc.com.

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