The proposed $10.7 million Sagadahoc County budget for 2021-22 would raise taxes a total of $125,920 or 1.4% for the 10 communities in the county.

The county spending plan for 2021-22 is increasing by $342,818 or 3.3% according to Pamela Hile, the county administrator.

The county taxes fund the Bath-based Sagadahoc County Sheriff’s Office and communications department, administrative staff, the district attorney’s office, the Sagadahoc County Emergency Management Agency and Board of Health as well as the county registry of deeds and register of probate.

The capital budget is increasing by $88,874 said Hile. The county plans to spend $28,000 to replace cameras in cruisers. The county is proposing to spend $18,000 for Emergency 911 software upgrades and raise an additional $40,000 to replace the emergency dispatch software system.

The county’s employee wages are increasing 3% which is also driving the overall increase.

Taxes are partially offset by $237,000 in surplus funds, Hile said. The county also anticipates a $46,810 drop in debt service payments in 2021-22.

The county budget accounts for a small portion of the taxes paid in communities that also pay taxes to the school and municipality.

In Topsham, for example, the proposed $13.6 million municipal budget for 2021-22 requires an estimated $7 million in taxes or 35% of the total tax levy compared to $11.3 million or 56% for the Maine School Administrative District 75 school budget. The county budget would require $1.8 million in taxes which is only 9% of the total estimated taxes the town would raise in 2021-22.

Hile said she doesn’t know how the proposed county budget would impact the tax rate in each of its municipalities. However, she expects it will have no effect or trigger a small increase in taxes. Communities that have larger increases in property valuation are more likely to see their county tax increase, Hile said.

Topsham and the city of Bath will pay the largest portion (21% each) of total county taxes in 2021-22. Topsham Town Manager Derek Scrapchansky said the county budget isn’t expected to affect Topsham’s tax rate, which he estimates may drop 1.5%.

Bath’s finance director Juli Millett said in an email Tuesday that she doesn’t expect to know how the proposed county budget will affect Bath’s tax rate until next week.

The Sagadahoc County Commissioners and Budget Advisory Committee will hold a virtual joint public budget hearing Thursday at 6 p.m. Anyone interested in participating can call the county at (207) 443-820 to request the link to the Zoom meeting.

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