SKOWHEGAN — A public hearing on the final draft of the 2013-14 Somerset County budget is set for 7 p.m. Tuesday in the Superior Court.

County finance manager Earla Haggerty said the total county budget is $11,120,149 which is $597,810 lower than the current budget, largely because county commissioners recommend using $100,000 from surplus to offset spending in the general fund budget and in turn, to lower taxes. The lower amount also is due to using $500,000 from revenues from the boarding of federal prisoners.

There is about $900,000 in county surplus, she said.

Somerset County commissioners and county department heads approved their proposed budgets last month and sent them to the 10-member Budget Committee for final revisions.

The current budget expires June 30.

The budget represents proposed spending for operations at the Somerset County Jail, the debt service on the jail, 12 spending lines for county departments and a projected $110,100 in overlay, an amount set aside to cover emergency expenses.

The budget has been broken down as follows:

• Jail operations: $4,863,215.

• Jail debt service: $2,495,878.

• County departments: $5,622,236 million, minus $1,971,282 in revenues.

• Overlay: $110,100.

There were no layoffs in the general fund portion of the budget.

If approved, the spending will be distributed among the 34 towns, plantations and territories in the county. The current tax rate for Somerset County communities is $2.18 for every $1,000 in property valuation.

If commissioners agree with changes made by the Budget Committee in the spending package Tuesday night, the budget will be approved at the June 19 commissioners’ meeting.

If commissioners disagree and make their own changes, the budget goes back to the Budget Committee, where a two-thirds vote is needed to override the commissioners’ recommendations.

The itemized jail budget will be approved by county commisioners at 9:30 a.m. Friday and will include revenues from the housing of federal prisoners, an issue that is being discussed with the state Board of Corrections.

Doug Harlow — 612-2367
[email protected]

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