Commissioners unveil proposed 2 percent budget increase

ELLSWORTH — The Hancock County Commissioners Sept. 26 unveiled a proposed 2019 budget that includes a 2 percent spending increase.

The commissioners have until Dec. 15 to finalize the budget. The Hancock County Budget Advisory Committee will review the proposal and make suggestions, so that 2 percent figure may change.

Currently, the proposed FY 19 budget includes expenditures of $8,323,374 and revenues of $2,344,084.

If the 2 percent increase is approved, the county would raise $5,979,290 through taxation in 2019. That’s an increase of $144,311 over the amount raised this year — $5,834,979.

Several members of the Budget Advisory Committee attended the special meeting.

“This all sounds promising, but the devil will be in the details I’m sure,” said Budget Advisory Committee member Jim Schatz.

“Total expenditures is what you keep the eye on; they’re up just a little bit up this year,” said Commissioner Percy “Joe” Brown.

One bright spot in county finance is that the jail construction bond has been paid.

That brought discussion about how the commissioners were planning to adjust the budget considering the $300,000 annual expense was gone.

Budget Advisory Committee Chairwoman and Stonington Town Manager Kathleen Billings asked if the board put any money in the jail’s capital fund.

“We put a little in our courthouse fund, but not much,” Brown said.

“We may want to increase that some,” Billings said. “Just because you don’t have to make the payment doesn’t mean you don’t have to save.”

Commissioner Bill Clark said the county has transferred into next year’s budget $200,000 of the $300,000 the county has saved in debt.

“We have put some monies in the jail capital account, but that capital account is pretty healthy and it’s fully funded right now,” Clark said.

Several Budget Advisory Committee members attended the meeting, including Lamoine Selectman Jo Cooper, Maine State Rep. Ralph Chapman of Brooksville and Trenton Selectman Fred Ehrlenbach.

A new member of the committee, Cave Hill School Principal Brenda Jordan, also attended.

Jennifer Osborn

Jennifer Osborn

Reporter and columnist at The Ellsworth American
News Reporter Jennifer Osborn covers news and features on the Blue Hill Peninsula and Deer Isle-Stonington. She welcomes tips and story ideas. She also writes the Gone Shopping column. Email Jennifer with your suggestions at [email protected] or call 667-2576.
Jennifer Osborn

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