Knox County budget to include 4 percent property tax increase

Posted Dec. 12, 2012, at 6:43 p.m.

ROCKLAND, Maine — The $9.56 million Knox County budget for 2013 received final, nearly unanimous approval Tuesday night, by both the county commissioners and budget committee.

The package will require about 4 percent more property taxes from local communities.

The commissioners voted 3-0 for the budget while all the budget committee members except for Elizabeth Dickerson of Rockland supported the package.

The budget calls for spending $9,564,815, which will be offset by non-property tax revenues of $2,742,802. The spending is up slightly more than 4 percent from 2012.

Nearly all that increase is due to the first year of debt repayment and additional maintenance costs expected because of the expansion of the public safety complex into 301 Park St. Voters approved the purchase of that property for the expansion in November 2011.

The budget also includes a 1.75 percent cost-of-living raise for employees as well as step increases for workers who are eligible due to their length of service with the county.

Dickerson said Wednesday she voted against the budget for several reasons. She said she did not like to use surplus to support an operating budget. She said she also did not support the pay raises, particularly after last year’s significant pay increases.

“I don’t believe that government should necessarily follow the path of a private business … I represent many people who simply don’t have enough to eat, let alone a job,” Dickerson said.

Camden will be paying the largest share of the county budget because it has the greatest property valuation in Knox County. Camden will pay slightly more than $1.2 million in taxes and dispatch fees in 2013, about $50,000 more than in 2012. Rockport, Rockland and St. George are the next largest payers in the county.

The largest expenditures for the county are the jail at nearly $3.6 million, the sheriff’s patrol at nearly $2 million, communications at slightly less than $1 million and the airport at about $477,000.

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