County hosting public hearing on proposed $8 million 2014 budget

By Ben Holbrook | Dec 03, 2013

Belfast — Residents will have an opportunity to weigh in on the county's proposed $8 million budget during a public hearing this week.

The public hearing is scheduled to take place Friday, Dec. 6 at 6 p.m. at the Waldo County District Court, located at 103 Church St.

During that hearing, residents can voice their opinion of the budget, which represents a more than 2 percent reduction compared to the $8.2 million 2013 county budget.

The proposed 2014 county budget is $5,162,838 and the overall budget, which includes a fixed contribution to the state's corrections system of $2,832,353, totals $7,995,191.

Commissioner William Shorey previously told The Republican Journal that officials asked department heads to be as conservative as possible with their own budget projections. Shorey noted the county also realized savings of almost $80,000 on its health insurance premiums.

Those savings were due in part to a County Wellness Plan that allows employees to enroll at local fitness centers with the county providing matching funds from its own health plan.

Shorey said the county also saved money by choosing to purchase technology equipment as opposed to leasing it. By purchasing as opposed to leasing the equipment, the county saved interest payments of about $47,000 annually.

While the county was able to reduce the overall budget, commissioners also added funding to a number of reserve accounts. In total, $150,000 was added to the employment security, equipment services, severance/assistance, courthouses, sheriff facility, vehicle emergency replacement, county planning, all other facilities and technology reserve accounts.

Shorey said that maintaining adequate reserve funds is important to the financial stability of the county because commissioners can use the funds to pay for needed projects without having to borrow any money.

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Ben Holbrook
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Ben Holbrook is a reporter for The Republican Journal covering general news.

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