AUGUSTA — The proposed budget for Kennebec County government is shaping up to be nearly 1 percent higher than that of the current year, but not all communities in the county should expect their county assessments to increase.

The biggest driver in changes to the county assessment on local property tax bills is the change in state valuation for each municipality.

“The valuation sets the proportion of the county tax you are responsible for,” said Robert Devlin, Kennebec County’s administrator.

Augusta, whose valuation decreased slightly, will have an assessment that’s 0.6 percent lower than the current year’s. The assessment for Gardiner, whose valuation has increased by more than $13 million, is expected to be up by about 4 percent over the current year.

Along with Augusta, valuation also decreased in China, Mount Vernon and Readfield.

In addition to Gardiner, West Gardiner, Windsor and Randolph are among the communities whose valuation increased.

For many communities, the increase was 1 percent or less.

The proposed $11,875,143 budget is $287,696 higher than the current year’s budget and includes pay increases covered by union contracts, funding for an additional deputy for the Kennebec County Sheriff’s Office, a half-time position in the Kennebec County District Attorney’s Office for a victim/witness advocate, as well as funding for additional professional and legal services for the Register of Probate and funding for software for the Registry of Deeds

Kennebec County Sheriff Ken Mason requested $10,000 for overtime. That’s a fraction of what his office spends in overtime, he said, but as the new sheriff, he didn’t want to come with a request for a big increase. The additional deputy will help reduce the department’s use of overtime, he said.

That spending is balanced in part by savings in insurance premiums and decreases to capital improvements, among other things.

Both of the new positions are scheduled to start in January. The funding for the victim/witness advocate will augment an already approved half-time position. Kennebec Count District Attorney Maeghan Maloney said that will bring the number of advocates in her office to three and it will help address the increasing caseload.

The County Budget Committee, made up of municipal officials in Kennebec County, voted to adopt the budget as presented at a meeting Wednesday in Hill House, the county’s government office building.

Two public hearings have been scheduled for later this month, in Waterville and Augusta.

The Waterville hearing is scheduled for 6 p.m. May 23 in the Waterville City Council chamber at 1 Common St.

The Augusta hearing is scheduled for 6 p.m. in the conference room at Hill House at 125 State St.

The County Budget Comitttee is expected to take a final vote on the budget immediately after the Augusta hearing.

Jessica Lowell — 621-5632

[email protected]

Twitter: @JLowellKJ

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