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Hearing slated for Washington County’s proposed $5.8 million 2013 budget

By Tom Walsh, BDN Staff

MACHIAS, Maine — Washington County residents will have an opportunity to weigh in on the proposed $5.8 million 2013 county budget at a 2 p.m. public hearing Thursday, Dec. 13, at the county commissioners office in Machias.

The draft budget of $5,792,431 is up $65,000 from the 2012 budget year bottom line of $5,727,601. That translates to about a 1 percent increase.

“The budget committee looked at everything pretty closely,” said Milbridge Town Manager Lewis Pinkham, who chaired the county’s budget advisory committee. “We tried to do what’s best for the whole county, but there are services that you just can’t do without.

“This new budget provides for a 3 percent raise for all employees,” he said Tuesday. “This year we were only able to provide them with a 1 percent raise.”

The county employs 104 people, 78 full time.

The 2013 budget anticipates that taxation will generate $5.2 million next year. It also anticipates additional revenues of $585,204. The county will continue to maintain a contingency fund of $100,000, the same amount as in the 2012 budget.

The proposed budget shows that operating the Washington County Jail remains the county’s highest expense, at $2 million a year. The projected cost of employee benefits next year is expected to be $992,000, which incorporates a 12 percent increase in health insurance costs.

The proposed 2013 budget for the Washington County Sheriff’s Department is $758,000, which is about $87,000 less than the department’s 2012 budget. Sheriff Donnie Smith said the decrease is related to no longer having to pay two deputies to patrol Lubec, which dropped its law enforcement contract last July 1.

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