County plans public hearing on budget, up 4.6 percent

By Ethan Andrews | Dec 01, 2017

Belfast — Waldo County residents will get one more chance to weigh in on their county budget, at a public hearing Friday, Dec. 8, at 6 p.m. at the District Courthouse, 103 Church St., Belfast.

The proposed 2018 budget is up 4.57 percent from the current year's. If approved it would be the largest single-year increase since 2011. The $258,482 bump includes a projected $100,000 increase in the cost of employee benefits along with wage increases across several departments.

Since 2008, the county has made a separate accounting of its corrections budget. The separation is legacy of the failed statewide corrections consolidation, which capped the county's correction costs at $2.8 million. After the repeal of jail consolidation, counties were allowed to raise corrections costs by up to 3 percent per year. The proposed corrections budget for 2018 is $2,998,262.

Looking back a decade, the total bottom line is up 18 percent from when the county passed its 2008 budget. That year's $7,233,444 bottom line carried an increase of 6.5 percent, though only through the efforts of the county's budget committee, whose members pared down the 25-percent increase in the $8.3 million budget proposed by commissioners.

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