SKOWHEGAN — Somerset County commissioners Wednesday night approved the proposed $12.5 million county budget for 2019.

The spending package — $12,503,181, not including an overlay for unexpected shortfalls in property tax revenue — represents an increase of 0.7 percent or $84,273 over the 2018 budget.

The county Budget Committee previously had approved the spending package, setting the stage for Wednesday’s public hearing in Superior Court, upstairs in the courthouse on High Street, and followed by a vote by county commissioners.

The final budget breaks down like this:

• $4,863,215 for operations at the Somerset County Jail.

• $2,097,875 for debt service on the construction of the jail.

• $5,542,091 for general county spending.

A 1 percent overlay amounting to $125,031 was added to the bottom line, for a final figure of $12,628,213.

In last year’s county budget, a new security guard at the Somerset County courthouse and a new dispatcher at the communications center were added to what otherwise was a flat-funded budget for the coming year. This year’s budget is even flatter.

“We cut everything that we could cut,” County Administrator Dawn DiBlasi said last week of her work with Patrick Dolan, the county finance manager, and county department heads. “From there it (went) to the commissioners, and they cut a few things, but they were quite pleased that we brought them such a lean budget.”

Before the final vote by county commissioners Wednesday night, Budget Committee Chairwoman Elaine Aloes, of Solon, read through each of the proposed department spending proposals, matched with department revenue.

A motion to send the Budget Committee’s spending package to the county commissioners was made by Hiram Weymouth, of St. Albans, and seconded by Gene Rouse, of Skowhegan. It was approved 8-0, with two members absent.

The vote by county commissioners to accept the final budget, with the overlay, was 4-0, with Commissioner Lloyd Trafton of West Forks absent.

“It’s a very lean budget and I think the taxpayers can be very happy with the department heads that helped fashion this budget,” commission Chairman Newell Graf, of Skowhegan, said after the vote.

DiBlasi had said the county budget was going to a public hearing and vote a little early this year as a convenience to Somerset County towns.

“A lot of the municipalities wanted us to have it done earlier so they could do their budgets,” she said last week. “So there was a push to get it done a little sooner so the municipalities would know what their share of it was. We’re typically 8 to 10 percent of a municipal budget.”

Doug Harlow — 612-2367

[email protected]


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