AUBURN — City taxpayers’ share of county spending could increase slightly, councilors were told Monday, if a plan to pay for dispatch services proves popular to Androscoggin County’s smaller towns and communities.

City Manager Clinton Deschene said the County Budget Committee is reviewing a proposed $8.01 million budget which includes a $3,128 increase overall.

Each city and town in Androscoggin County pays a share of that budget based on their valuations, and valuations are down across the county. Valuations in some communities, such as Lewiston, Lisbon and Wales, fell faster than others, meaning their share of county taxes will go down.

Property values in others, such as Auburn, Durham and Sabattus, fell less sharply, meaning their shares of county taxes will rise. In Auburn, it means the city will pay $2.03 million to the county in 2013 — $27,867 more than  it paid in 2012.

“I guess it’s kind of a good problem to have,” Deschene said. “With things in this economy the way they are, it means our situation is better than in some communities in the county.”

Commissioners are proposing spending more than $90,000 on dispatching upgrades and $70,000 on improvements to several offices at the county building.


The Budget Committee is scheduled to continue work at 6 p.m. Tuesday in the County Building. A public hearing on the budget is scheduled for Dec. 19.

Mayor Jonathan LaBonte said the budget numbers likely depend on a plan to charge for dispatch services.

County officials have been looking for ways to modernize the county system, and decided in May to upgrade their system instead of contracting with the LA 911 center. That proposal calls for spending more than $90,000 on dispatching upgrades and $70,000 on improvements to several offices at the county building in Auburn.

Commissioners have proposed a dispatching fee plan to raise $189,991 from 12 Androscoggin County communities — all but Lewiston and Auburn. According to the fee schedule, the county would charge each town $2 per capita for basically answering and directing emergency calls to 911. The county would charge $6.15 per capita for police dispatch services and $2.50 for fire and emergency dispatch services.

“If they do not get communities to sign on, it means more property taxes,” LaBonte said. “So it looks good now, but they are making assumptions about the new revenues. And we don’t know where those stand.”

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