By Barbara L. Arseneau
Waldo County Clerk
BELFAST, Maine — The Waldo County Commissioners have announced that they are ready to submit the proposed Fiscal Year 2014 Waldo County Budget to the Budget Committee for review. The Commissioners are particularly pleased that the proposed 2014 County Budget is 3.37 percent lower than the 2013 budget, and the grand total of the 2014 proposed budget, including the Correctional Facility/Jail portion, is 2.20 percent below the 2013 budget.
The Commissioners are very pleased that the 2013 budget, which is 3.3 percent lower than the 2012 budget, includes the last half of a $500,000 upgrade to the County’s technology equipment. The Commissioners also note that nine different reserve accounts have been increased by $150,000 total as follows: Employment Security, Equipment Services, Severance/Assistance, Courthouses, Sheriff Facility, Vehicle Emergency Replacement, County Planning, Facilities All Other and Technology. Also, the Commissioners note that the County of Waldo continues to operate debt-free.
The Board of Commissioners reports that the reduced budget resulted from careful fiscal management, diligence on the part of department heads and other agencies in submitting “lean” requests and ongoing savings realized through the County’s self-funded health insurance plan, now in its fifth year.
“At a time when health plans are in turmoil and costs are increasing for most government entities and private businesses, Waldo County’s plan costs have actually decreased,” stated Chairman William D. Shorey. Commissioner Betty Johnson attributes some of the health plan cost savings to a very successful County Wellness Program, the committee of which she has served on since its inception in 2012. More than one-third of county employees have enrolled at local fitness centers with matched funding from the County health plan.
The Commissioners are extremely pleased to have Commissioner Fowler serving on the Board of Corrections Committee, which allows in-depth insight regarding the costs and operations of the consolidated correctional system of the Maine counties.
The Budget Committee will hold its first meeting at 6 p.m. on Oct. 24, in the Maine District Courtroom, 103 Church St. in Belfast. To follow the FY 2014 County Budget process, please visit the County’s website at www.waldocountyme.gov or contact the Waldo County Clerk at 338-3282.