DOVER-FOXCROFT, Maine — Piscataquis County department heads have proposed a 2012 county budget that reflects an increase of 3.13 percent in expenditures.

The budget draft has been forwarded to the county’s budget advisory committee for review. The committee will hold its first meeting at 6 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 13, in the Dover-Foxcroft District Courthouse.

The 2011 budget is $3,843,522 compared to a requested $3,963,676 budget for 2012.

The budget to date solely reflects what the department heads have presented, Commission chairman Tom Lizotte said Thursday.

“We’d like to let the budget advisory committee see the department heads thinking without having any changes by the commissioners at this time,” he said. The commissioners will consider the committee’s recommendations and comments once its review has been completed, he said.

Lizotte said for the most part, the department heads have done a good job in being conservative in their budget requests.

Some department heads have included 2- and 3-percent increases in wages for both elected and appointed employees, some of whom have not had a pay increase since 2008. The county treasurer, who is elected, has included a $2,000 increase for her salary, taking it from $8,000 to $10,000.

“We still are living in extraordinarily difficult economic times and the budget really needs to reflect that people in this county are struggling to pay their bills,” Lizotte said. “We have a very high unemployment level, the highest in the state; we have a very high poverty level, and we have a high level of home foreclosures, so we must be responsive to that reality.”