Proposed 2013 Knox County budget up 9 percent
Rockland — Members of the Knox County Commission and Budget Committee got their first look at the preliminary version of the 2013 county budget during a joint meeting Oct. 25 in the grand jury room of the county courthouse.
The preliminary spending package proposed by the county administrator is $6,942,421 and reflects a 9 percent increase.
County Administrator Andrew Hart did a page-by-page review of the budget for the officials. He explained that the increase could be attributed to this year being the first year of the new bond payment on the public safety building at 301 Park St. That building will house the sheriff's office, the Emergency Management Agency, and the county dispatch office.
The bond rate is 1.866 percent, he said, with $25,000 in interest over the 15-year life of the bond.
One of the first orders of business was the election of officers for the new year's budget committee. Robert Duke Jr. was re-elected chairman, Lawrence Nash, vice chairman, and William Jones, secretary.
All eight members of the budget committee were present. Commission Chairman Roger A. Moody and Commissioner Richard L. Parent Jr. were also present, but Commissioner Carol L. Maines was absent.
During the public part of the meeting, Selectman Greg Grotton of Union asked for a place in the budget deliberations for selectmen of the towns to have a chance to commuicate.
"We need to have a voice," Grotton said.
Duke responded by saying that would be a question for the work sessions.
"All of our meetings are public," he said.
Nash suggested allowing five minutes at the start of each meeting for public input.
Committee member Ann Matlack said that not all towns have a selectmen form of government.
"Rockland has a city council," she said.
Committee member Randy Stearns resolved the issue by offering to be open for discussion to Grotton whenever he wanted someone to listen, for which Grotton thanked him.
The joint panels plan to meet five times on the budget, starting Thursday, Nov. 1 at 5 p.m. in the county commissioners' meeting room, when they will take up program grants and probate court, district attorney, Registry of Deeds, finance and county administrative office department budgets.
On Thursday, Nov. 8 at 5 p.m., county officials will review program grants for Knox-Lincoln Extension, Knox-Lincoln Soil and Water, and Time & Tide RC & D. The officials will also review the airport and the sheriff's patrol division departmental budgets.
On Thursday, Nov. 15 at 5 p.m., review will be of communications, EMA, building management, and debt service departmental budgets.
On Tuesday, Nov. 20, two days before Thanksgiving, there will be a final review session, if necessary, and a vote on the budget proposal.
The budget will be presented to the public at a hearing scheduled for Dec. 11 or Dec. 18.
Following the public hearing, the committee and the commission will hold separate votes on the budget.
Serving on this year's budget committee are Matlack, Duke, Jones, Elizabeth Dickerson, A. Mason Johnson Jr., Dorothy Meriwether, Nash and Stearns.
Courier Publications reporter George Chappell can be reached by phone at 207-594-4401, ext. 117, and by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.