SKOWHEGAN — Somerset County commissioners and the county Budget Committee approved the $11,488,000 budget for 2012-13 Wednesday evening, but it wasn’t unanimous.

Citing information on budget figures that she said was received late, Solon Selectwoman and Budget Committee member Elaine Aloes asked if the entire package could be revisited before a final vote.

Aloes said there was more money that could have been saved with the new information and wanted the committee to make some changes.

County Administrator Larry Post said the county charter did not allow changes to be made by the committee after the evening’s public hearing.

The vote by the committee was 8-2 in favor of approving the budget.

Detroit Selectman Ethan Kelley joined Aloes in opposition.

“I voted against it only because I thought there were some items we could have fine-tuned a little better,” Kelley said. “We just received the new information a day or two ago. I’m sure it wouldn’t have made a disastrous change, but in trying to represent the citizens of Somerset County I’d like to think we gave them the best, accurate budget that we could give them.”

After its vote, the Budget Committee turned the spending package over to the five-member board of Somerset County Commissioners, who voted unanimously to adopt it.

The budget was broken down as follows:

• $4,863,215 for jail operations

• $2,557,616 for jail debt service

• $4,067,365 for the net county budget

The spending package is up 1.7 percent over the current year, or about $200,000, meaning modest increases in taxes spread across the 34 towns, plantations and territories in the county.

The towns of Fairfield, Mercer and Pittsfield will see a decrease in taxes for the coming year.

Post said declining revenues from fees to the district attorney’s office and the registry of deeds, coupled with a 3 percent increase in expenditures accounted for most of the increase.

Hartland Town Manager and Budget Committee Chairwoman Rhonda Stark said this was her first year as head of the committee. She said it was a learning experience.

“It went smooth, but we could have had more information in a more timely fashion from the commissioners’ office,” she said after the vote.

Commissioners’ Chairman Robert Dunphy of Embden said he thought the budget process went well.

“It went really well this year; really quick with a lot of thorough background in it,” Dunphy said. “They did a good job with the budget.”

Doug Harlow — 612-2367

[email protected]


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.