PARIS – A nine-member Budget Committee voted 8-1 Tuesday evening to have the Oxford County budget exceed the limit set by state law.

The committee made the recommendation after reducing budget expenditures by $39,221. Combined with cuts recommended by county commissioners, the budget will increase approximately 8.8 percent over last year’s spending, exceeding the state’s LD 1 cap of 4.34 percent.

The committee approved a reduction of $26,028 in health insurance expenditures and $13,193 in worker’s compensation expenditures. Both decreases were offered by the county’s insurance companies.

After the latest reductions, the projected county expenditures are $5,162,957, with an additional $1,228,757 to be raised separately for the Oxford County Jail under the new state jail consolidation plan. Projected revenues are $1,859,988.

Last year’s approved budget included $6,223,120 in expenditures and $1,741,946 in revenues.

Chairman Robert Heard of Porter said some of the increases came as a result of the county locking in fuel prices during the summer, when prices were higher. Heard said an additional $160,000 would need to be cut from the budget to bring it within the spending cap.

Commission Chairman Caldwell Jackson said he was opposed to taking money from the county’s undesignated surplus, which has about $472,000. Commissioners approved the appropriation of $122,000 from surplus last year to bring the budget increase under the tax cap, which at that time was 5.05 percent.

The Budget Committee approved $42,900 in reduced expenditures previously made by commissioners. Cuts affected the budgets of the commissioners, Regional Communications Center, District Attorney’s Office, and Oxford County Sheriff’s Office. The commissioners also recommended a $5,000 reduction for the Oxford Regional Airport and smaller reductions in Social Security, worker’s compensation and unemployment insurance.

In a 5-3 vote, the committee approved $50,000 for a capital reserve fund for the Oxford Regional Airport, a $40,000 increase from last year’s appropriation. The funds will be used for repairs and renovations at the airport, including roof repair, mold remediation, and the rehabilitation of the runway.

The budget will go before commissioners for approval on Dec. 16.

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