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Commissioners take first steps in 2018 county budget process

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DOVER-FOXCROFT — Non-union, full-time county employees will be receiving a 2 percent wage increase in the 2018 county budget after a motion for the increase was approved by the Piscataquis County Commissioners during an Aug. 8 meeting. The raise matches the 2 percent the county’s union employees will receive per their contract starting on Jan. 1, 2018.

“This is part of our annual budget process,” County Manager Tom Lizotte said. He said department heads needed to know about a potential raise as they make their funding requests, “When we hand out the budget worksheets that will be included in that.”

“We have about 50 total employees full-time and if you take away those covered by union contracts it might be 15 total,” Lizotte said about the number of those working for the county full-time and who are not part of a union. He mentioned the cooks in the jail as an example of those who will be receiving a raise thanks to the commissioners’ decision.

“We hope to have a draft of the budget by early September,” Lizotte said, as the county budget follows the calendar year. The county manager said next month he will meet individually with department heads to go over their requests and then a second draft of the spending plan will be brought for the commissioners to review in late September.

“Then it goes to the budget advisory committee and that usually starts in early October and ends in November,” Lizotte said. He said a public hearing on the proposed county budget — as well as finances for the unorganized territories which follow a fiscal year calendar — is held the Monday evening after Thanksgiving. From there the commissioners formally vote on the budget during a December meeting.

Lizotte said he should have a list of the nine budget advisory committee members for the commissioners at their next meeting on Tuesday, Aug. 22.

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