Panel OKs $14M Penobscot County budget

Posted Nov. 06, 2008, at 8:46 p.m.
Last modified March 20, 2011, at 6 a.m.

BANGOR, Maine — The Penobscot County budget committee Wednesday night approved a $14.41 million budget for 2009, which is $36,360 less than this year’s budget.

A public hearing on the budget was set tentatively for 10 a.m. Tuesday, Dec. 16.

The county’s budget year coincides with the calendar year.

The final tax rate has not been set but it is expected to be approximately $1.11 per $1,000 assessed valuation, according to County Administrator Bill Collins.

The biggest impact on next year’s budget is the change in how much the county will contribute to the operation of the Penobscot County Jail, since the Legislature earlier this year created the State Board of Corrections. The board will oversee the running of jails around the state, and counties will contribute a set amount to their operation.

Penobscot County is to contribute a little less than $5.92 million in 2009. According to the legislation passed to create the new board, the county’s annual expenditure to run the jail is never supposed to increase.

County revenue is expected to decrease by $540,500, Collins said Wednesday. About half the loss is from money that had been generated by the jail in boarding fees for federal prisoners and income for work done by inmates in the community. The county also will no longer receive state funds to help run the jail.

The county is projected to earn nearly $3.2 million from filing fees in Probate Court and the registry of deeds, along with income from the state for providing court security and law enforcement to municipalities, and from rental fees and other services.

The Penobscot Regional Communication Center is expected to bring in about $180,000 in new revenue when it signs a contract early next year with Aroostook County to provide them E-911 service, now provided from the Maine State Police barracks in Houlton. Penobscot County would hire four additional workers to meet the number of increased calls at a cost of $150,000.

Aroostook County commissioners approached Penobscot County a few months ago about contracting for the service after they learned the fee for the service from the state police would more than double next year, Collins said.

Expenditures in the Penobscot County sheriff’s budget is up a little more than 6 percent from $2.59 million to $2.73 million due to the increased cost of gas, oil, grease and tires.

The budget also includes about $12,000 more next year for the Penobscot County Cooperative Extension. The county will pay $80,000 for the rental cost and utilities for the service at University College at Bangor. The University of Maine pays the salaries and benefits of employees.

The Extension service most likely will move into the Penobscot County Courthouse in 2010 after the judiciary moves into the new courthouse under construction on Exchange Street in Bangor.

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