BANGOR, Maine — The Penobscot County commissioners on Tuesday unanimously approved a $15.72 million budget for 2011 and set the tax rate at $1.16 per $1,000 valuation.
Next year’s budget increased by $1 million over the 2010 budget. The mill rate grew by 6.63 percent over last year’s rate of $1.12.
Commissioners passed the budget after a public hearing attended by four members of the Bangor City Council: Patricia Blanchette, Nelson Durgin, Charles Longo and Gerry Palmer.
No one spoke in opposition to the budget.
“The county commission runs a really, really tight ship,” Blanchette said of how Penobscot County does business. “What you’re doing and what you’re taking on next year doesn’t make that increase that high. I think you need to be said thank you to.”
The task Penobscot County will be taking on next year is incorporating emergency dispatching for the city of Bangor into its own Penobscot Regional Communications Center on the third floor of the historic Penobscot County Courthouse on Hammond Street.
Commissioners budgeted about $569,000 in additional money for the consolidation. The money would pay the salaries and benefits of the eight additional dispatchers that will need to be hired, Jim Ryan, head of the PRCC, said last month.
The Bangor City Council gave initial approval to consolidation in October but is not expected to vote on a final plan until after the first of the year.
Other increases in the county budget included a 15 percent increase in the cost of health care for employees and $129,000 for six cruisers to replace aging ones for the Penobscot County Sheriff’s Office.
In addition, witness fees for the District Attorney’s Office will increase from $8,000 to $13,000, because fees previously paid by the state now must be paid by counties.