NORWAY – The Oxford County commissioners will hold a public hearing Wednesday on the county’s proposed 2006 budget, which calls for a 14.45 increase in spending next year.

An estimated $3.8 million is to be raised in taxes if the county’s department heads receive their requested budgets, which would help push Oxford County’s overall expenditures to $4,970,038 next year, versus a budgeted $4,520,696 in 2005.

Total revenue and credits are estimated at $1,119,957 in 2006, down from $1,156,826 this year. The county has a budgeted surplus transfer of $200,000 this year, versus a projected $100,000 transfer in 2006.

Some of the spending increases are beyond the county’s control, including deferred compensation for employees, which is estimated to cost nearly 50 percent more next year as employees elect to defer a greater percentage of their salaries toward retirement.

Auditing and interest costs are estimated to rise by 50 percent and 52 percent next year, respectively.

The county commissioners are requesting an increase of nearly $34,000 in their budget next year to fund a newly created county administrator/manager position.

County firefighters are asking for 25 percent more in their budget next year. Carole Mahoney, administrative assistant to the three county commissioners, said insurance costs for volunteer firefighters are projected to rise next year.

The Oxford County Sheriff’s Department is requesting about $125,000 more, due in large part to higher fuel costs and three new deputy positions that were in effect six months this year but will be on the payroll for 12 months in 2006. In addition, the district attorney’s office is asking for a $30,000 increase to fund a new position that will assist in victim-witness advocacy and clerical duties.

The hearing on Wednesday will allow department heads to present arguments for the budgets they have requested.

The budget then has a number of steps to undergo before finalization, including revision by the commissioners and the County Budget Committee, before it goes into effect on Jan. 1.

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