County taxes going up

8 years ago
 CARIBOU, Maine — Mainly due to the mothballing of the state’s Board of Corrections, county tax bills will be 8.2 percent higher this year, Aroostook County Administrator Douglas Beaulieu said Feb. 24.

Beaulieu said that The County lost more than $1 million in state funding once the board, which was formed by former Gov. John Baldacci to create a more organized system for overseeing Maine’s county jails, was dissolved in 2014.

Funding and jurisdictional problems rendered the board largely ineffective.

“We were getting $1.6 million in state funding, but because of the jail going back to local control, we lost $1 million of that,” the administrator explained. “And we lost that jail funding even though the budget for the jail decreased this year.”

The county taxes finance the general operation of the county and are assessed to towns based on a formula that is partially based on their valuation. Towns across The County are expected to receive their tax bills within the next few days.

For example, the town of Allagash, which paid a tax of $32,277 in 2015, will pay $33,580 this year, an increase of $1,303 over the previous year. Caribou, which was taxed $402,177 last year, will see an increase this year of $33,965 to $436,142.

Houlton, which was taxed $319,922 in 2015, will pay $16,818 more this year, for a total of $336,740.

Some towns will see a decrease in the tax, however, due to their valuation decreasing. For instance, in 2015, New Limerick was valued at $155,700,000, but in 2016, its valuation decreased by $11,850,000 to $143,850,000. Their 2016 County tax is $167,729, a decrease of $2,918 over last year.