Franklin Countys First News

Commissioners approve UT budget at $1.16 million

Commissioners Terry Brann, Charlie Webster and Clyde Barker.

FARMINGTON - The Franklin County Commissioners approved a $1.16 million budget for fiscal year 2019-20 in the Unorganized Territory Tuesday, after a brief public hearing.

With no residents in attendance for the hearing, commissioners moved unanimously to approve the $1,166,418 budget. That figure comes in under the LD1 cap, according to County Clerk Julie Magoon, representing a $33,000 increase over the current fiscal year. Increases include a $22,000 increase in snow removal contracts that had reached the end of their 5-year spans, as well as an increase of $14,000 in Fire Protection. The county pays for the Salem Fire Department, while contributing to a number of town departments that provide coverage in the U.T.

The U.T. budget is paid for by taxpayers of the U.T. and is completely separate from the county budget process. Following commissioner approval, the budget will be reviewed by the state. U.T. budgets are on the state budget schedule and therefore run from July to June.

In other business, commissioners opted to table any decision on a funding request by the Greater Franklin Development Council for $40,000 out of the Tax Increment Financing account to fund operations in 2018. GFDC Executive Director Charlie Woodworth had approached six towns, with those Boards of Selectmen submitting letters of support for that request. The $40,000 would serve as a match for the economic development organization, with Woodworth telling commissioners that roughly $50,000 had been secured in a combination of grant funding, from two companies and from the towns of Farmington and Livermore Falls.

GFDC was historically funded at the $60,000 level - half out of the county budget and half out of the TIF. The organization received no funding through this year's budget process.

Commissioner Clyde Barker moved to grant the request, but that motion was not seconded. The commissioners then voted 2 to 1 to table the matter, with Barker opposed.

Commissioners also met with the next Judge of Probate, Margot Joly, in executive session to discuss the funding of that position. Commissioners approved a salary of $32,000 a year, with $16,000 to be paid to Joly over the six months remaining in the current fiscal year as of January.

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6 Responses »

  1. The Judge of Probate does not work for the county commissioners the Judge is elected by the people at the ballet box just as they were.The budget was already set by the previous Judge Salary. Margot stand up for your self or get out of the way. You are a duly elected official you don't work for the county commissioners, you work for us.

  2. The County Commissioners set salaries for County employees. Some are negotiated, some are set based on skill levels and some are based on length of service. Previous Judge of Probate, Richard Morton, served for almost 30 years in that capacity. Obviously someone just elected without his experience might expect a different compensation package. The Commissioners appropriately determined that Margot Joly should receive less compensation and benefits than Judge Morton. Someone has to have the final say on how taxpayers dollars can be best spent. Regarding most expenditures in County Government, the Commissioners make those final decisions. For those who follow County Government, Franklin County also has an effective nine member board (Franklin County Budget Committee) to review the annual County Budget. The current Commissioners work extremely well with this Committee, thus assuring that taxpayer dollars are wisely used in the funding of County Government. Hopefully this information is helpful to the readers of the Daily Bulldog.

  3. Joly shouldn't meet with commissioners? What in the world are you getting at?

  4. Now I get it.
    The Commissioner's post was not up when I queried Mr. Morgan, and I apologize for being cranky.
    There's a newly elected county treasurer in a coastal county who will be getting a salary that is one-fourth the size of the previous treasurer. He is claiming commissioners there are retaliating against him.
    While state law allows the county commission to set the salaries, and there is a point to be made about people with more experience being paid more than newcomers, it's unusual and potentially troublesome when it comes to elective office. While I would never accuse this commission of retaliating against someone, it's pretty easy to have claims like that poor fellow on the coast. That's why most elective offices have salaries that are posted and do not vary unless there's a formal process to change them.

  5. Morgan is out on the weeds on this one.
    If he had future political aspirations, I guess he needs to get used to hearing things like this..
    "Ryan,, get your facts or YOU get out of the way."
    Can't stand political theatre..Ryan.

  6. Margo Joly should get the same pay as Judge Morton. She is just as smart as he is and has been dealing with the court system for a long time. Correct me if I am wrong (I am sure someone will) but didn't she run the district attorney's office with a part-time boss and 1 part-time helper for a few years, and now it takes 5 full-time people and 2 part-timers to do the same job?

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