Knox County budget faces public, final vote

By Stephen Betts | Dec 05, 2017
Photo by: Stephen Betts

Rockland — Nearly all Knox County communities will see their county tax bills increase as a result of a proposed 2018 budget that goes to a formal public hearing and final vote Thursday night, Dec. 7.

The hearing is set for 6 p.m. in the commissioners' hearing room at the Knox County Courthouse, where the Budget Committee and commissioners will vote on the proposal.

There has been only minor tweaking of the budget since it was unveiled Sept. 29 by Knox County Administrator Andrew Hart. The only area of disagreement between the commissioners and Budget Committee is whether to give $15,000 to the Midcoast Economic Development District. The commissioners supported the spending, while the committee left it out of its recommendation.

As it stands now, the proposed Knox County spending package for 2018 is $10,857,101. This is a 4.2 percent increase from the approved spending of $10,419,221 for 2017.

Camden will pay the largest share of the budget, at $1,489,000, which includes the property taxes to be assessed to the town as well as dispatch fees for the Knox County Regional Communications Center. This is an increase of $73,000.

Rockport will be paying $1,111,000, up about $52,000. Rockland is the only other Knox County community to pay in excess of $1 million, with a projected payment of $1,048,000. This is about $62,000 more than what was paid in 2017.

North Haven is the only town projected to pay less, a drop of $54,000 to $352,000. Matinicus Island's share is expected to remain at $35,000.

The budget increase is due largely to pay increases. Employees will receive a 1.9 percent cost-of-living increase and employees who move up a step on the longevity scale will see an additional 2 percent increase. Those workers at the top of the scale will receive 2 percent bonuses that will not count toward their base salaries.

Another increase is $100,000 set aside in courthouse maintenance for the first payment in a lease/purchase deal for a new heating. ventilation and air conditioning system.

The jail is the largest expense in the county budget, at $3,876,071.

The sheriff's patrol budget for the county is proposed at $2,204,851.

The communications (public safety dispatch) budget is proposed at $1,212,671.

The county's share of the airport budget is proposed at $594,194.

The administration and technology department is proposed at $535,671.

Building maintenance is proposed at $517,425.

The county's share of the district attorney's budget is proposed at $498,043. The salaries and benefits for the attorneys in the department are paid through the Maine Attorney General's Office budget.

The finance department budget is proposed at $299,136.

The registry of deeds budget is proposed at $255,820. The deeds department, however, brings in $430,000 in revenues for the county, to more than offset its expenses.

The annual debt costs for the county are budgeted at $208,332.

The emergency management agency budget is proposed at $198,676.

Comments (2)
Posted by: ananur forma | Dec 06, 2017 09:47

do you want us property owners to move away?



Posted by: Dale Hayward | Dec 05, 2017 14:50

Salaries and benefits are the increase.



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