Franklin Countys First News

Budget committee sends $6.74 million budget to commissioners

Budget committee members vote Wednesday evening.

FARMINGTON - The Franklin County Budget Committee approved a $6.74 million budget at Wednesday's meeting, clearing the way for the commissioners' final review.

The $4,495,024 county budget and $2,246,998 jail budget would combine to be just under the $6.75 million previously recommended by the commissioners. The current fiscal year's budget was set in June 2018 at $6.56 million.

The committee made several additions, including funds for a 3 percent increase in pay for nonunion county employees. That extra 1 percent increase, above the 2 percent increase previously approved by the committee in a series of preliminary votes held in late May, would represent $12,814 across the county and jail budgets.

Committee member Tiffany Maiuri said that she felt that the 3 percent number better reflected next year's projected cost of living increase. Committee member Keith Swett said that he wanted to see similar increases for union and nonunion personnel. Corrections officers received a 3 percent increase as part of their bargaining agreement, while the Fraternal Order of Police members received $1/hour pay increases. Approval for the 3 percent increases for nonunion personnel passed by a vote of 5 to 3, with Maiuri, Swett, Ray Gaudette, Bob Luce and Morgan Dunham in favor and Tiffany Estabrook, Judy Diaz and Committee Chair Josh Bell opposed. Committee member Travis Pond was absent.

The committee approved increases above their previous, preliminary votes in the Programs & Grants section, voting to provide Western Maine Transportation with $10,000 and Western Maine Community Action with $30,000. Commissioners had recommended $20,000 for WMCA and no funds for Western Maine Transportation.

The committee continued to support $50,000 for the Cooperative Extension, less than the $53,012 requested by the agency and supported by the commissioners. The committee also voted to fund Franklin County Soil & Water at $20,000, a reduction of $1,000 from the commissioners' budget.

A motion to fund a number of previously unfunded agencies $1 apiece failed, by a vote of 4 to 4 with Maiuri, Gaudette, Luce and Dunham in favor and Estabrook, Diaz, Bell and Swett opposed. Several 4 to 4 votes were recorded throughout the evening, and the committee had to vote on some items multiple times. Those in support of the $1 figures indicated that they wanted to preserve those agencies' ability to be considered for county funding in future years. The committee did vote to fund SeniorsPlus at $1.

Other increases in the county budget, besides the additional 1 percent to nonunion salaries and associated lines, included $18,640 for a fourth console station at the Franklin County Regional Communications Center. That item was included within the department request and commissioners' recommendation, but was preliminarily voted out by the committee at a previous meeting.

The committee also voted to add $917 to the District Attorney's Office budget for software licensing for an employee and $2,000 in the Insurance budget. In both cases, those increases represented late adjustments requested after the previous meetings.

Commissioners will then review the committee's budget and make any changes with a unanimous vote. The budget committee has the final say, and can veto commissioner changes with a two-thirds majority vote.

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1 Responses »

  1. Thank you to the Budget Committee Members for your time and careful consideration in coming to your final budget.

    It means a great deal that you listened to your constituents, took their words and needs into account, and restored funding to the two programs in the grants section, WMCA and WMTS. At the same time, resulting in a lower total spending figure over all.

    Your difficult work is much appreciated. It will make the community stronger and help it continue to move in a positive direction.