ROCKLAND – Towns face a collective 27 percent hike in taxes and fees with the approval of the Knox County 2001 budget Wednesday night.
The spending package totals $5.1 million, up from the 2000 budget total of $4.9 million. During its final consideration of the plan, the budget committee restored funding to some departments it had cut earlier in the review process. In the end, the committee’s version of the budget was 2 percent smaller than the version proposed by the county commissioners, County Clerk Virginia Lindsey said Thursday.
The amount to be raised through taxes for 2001 is $4.2 million, compared to a tax bite of $3.7 million for 2000. In addition to the county tax assessment, which is based on the real estate valuation the state assigns to municipalities, Knox County this year will assess a fee to towns to pay for the new Knox County Regional Communications Center.
The KRCC’s annual budget is $500,000. The center is expected to begin answering Enhanced 911 calls for the entire county sometime this spring. The $500,000 budget is to be funded entirely from fees paid by towns, which are assessed based on population. Towns using the center to dispatch emergency calls will pay an additional fee.
The county tax – not including communications fees – for 2001 ranges from $71,253 for Appleton, an inland town of 1,195; to $813,878 for Camden, a coastal town of 5,071. Coastal towns generally have higher real estate values.
Taxes for other county towns include: $192,912 for Owls Head, a coastal town of 1,742; $543,613 for Rockland, a coastal city of 7,491; $545,155 for Rockport, a coastal town of 2,924; $421,887 for St. George, a coastal town of 2,513; and $142,037 for Union, an inland town of 2,159.
With the fees for the communications center, the towns face increases in payments to the county over this year’s bills ranging from 18 percent to 37 percent. Thomaston, for example, will face a total county bill of $235,537, an increase of 35 percent from the 2000 tax bill of $174,434, if it contracts with the KRCC for dispatch services.
Washington, one of the smaller towns located in the northwest part of the county with a population of 1,313, will pay $104,552, up from the bill of $78,056 for 2000, a 34 percent increase.