Residents will have a last chance to weigh in on a proposed 8-percent increase in the cost of Waldo County government this Wednesday, Nov. 30 at the final public hearing on the 2012 budget.

The county budget covers the Sheriff’s Department, Emergency Management Agency, Regional Communications Center, Registry of Deeds, District Attorney’s Office, Probate Court, commissioners’ office, and a fixed $2.8 million payment the county makes toward the unified statewide corrections system, a portion of which pays for the re-entry center and 72-hour hold facility housed in the former Waldo County Jail in Belfast.

Discounting the fixed corrections payment, Budget Committee Chairman Bill Sneed said the discretionary portion of the proposed $8 million bottom line is up closer to 13 percent.

In recent years, the commissioners have presented small increases that have been trimmed further by the county budget committee. In 2009, the budget went up just under 3 percent from the previous year. In 2010, the increase was a hair over 1 percent.

As a result, Commissioner William Shorey said recently that some of the proposed increase in 2012 amounts to catching up on costs that should have appeared in past budgets.

Of the total proposed increase, Shorey said roughly half is outside of the county’s control, including the price of gas and additional costs based on labor contracts settled during the year.

These two factors make up the bulk of the $100,000 added to the Sheriff’s budget, as well as a $25,000 bump in facilities costs, Shorey said.

The 2012 budget also includes $175,000 in reserves, more than half of which, Shorey said, would go to pay for state mandated equipment upgrades at the Communications Center, the dispatcher for 911 and other emergency calls in Waldo County. No money was set aside for reserves last year.

Additional increases show up in the commissioners office — where Shorey said a number of county liabilities fall, including technology, which previously had its own line in the budget — and the Registry of Deeds, where a part-time worker was hired.

The budget committee cut $22,000 from the proposed budget at a meeting in October. Following that meeting, Sneed said committee members didn’t have much time to review the draft budget in advance, but he and other members planned to give it closer scrutiny in the intervening month.

The final county budget hearing will be held Wednesday, Nov 30 at 6 p.m. at Fifth District Court, 103 Church Street, Belfast. Sneed encouraged members of the public to attend and weigh in.