Franklin Countys First News

Letter to the County Commissioners from Rep. Landry

Dear Commissioners Barker, Brann and Webster:

I was deeply concerned to hear the news that Western Maine Transportation Services will be forced to significantly reduce, or even eliminate, its service in Franklin County due to your decision to withhold approved county-level funding, which also results in the loss of federal matching dollars.

Residents across our county rely on WMTS to get to work, school and job training programs, see a doctor, shop for essential items and more. In addition to the individuals who use these services, the discontinuation of these services will also harm local businesses and providers. It is my understanding that your decision to withhold funding also extends to Western Maine Community Action, which itself provides critical services to our neighbors in need.

These choices compromise the safety and security of hundreds of the people we serve. Furthermore, these funds were properly appropriated through the county budget-writing process and should be used for their intended purposes.

Each of you has expressed your desire to prioritize those residents of Franklin County who need our support and supporting these crucial service agencies is the way to accomplish that goal. I urge you to release the approved funding to both WMTS and Western Maine Community Action.

H. Scott Landry, Jr.
State Representative

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9 Responses »

  1. Nice letter. What are the reasons the " County " Commissioners are withholding funds?

  2. That's some professional courtesy right there.

  3. Could someone provide here (on the http://www.dailybulldog.come) truthful and real statistics on:

    *the numbers of people served -by town;

    *what those services are specifically - by town;

    *any fees charged to those served showing the revenue generated from those served - by town;

    *the employee costs of the organization (pay and benefits for each employee (need not include name, just position title));

    *all sources of income to the organization - itemized;

    *expenditures - itemized etc.

    This would help to illustrate what the organization is doing, where they are spending money, where they are taking in money, the specific towns being served and what specific services are being used.

    I am neither for or against funding at the County level for this organization, but feel if County funding is being requested by County taxpayers, County taxpayers should know a bit more about the situation. It's easy to say shame on the County or shame on the organization without any facts or figures to back either up.

  4. My guess is there is an internal problem that needs fixing with Western Maine as our commissioners do not make these kind of decisions lightly. Considering their combined experience I want to know a lot more before I make any rash judgments.

  5. I find letters like this disingenuous, especially when politicians attempt to pander to particular individuals or groups of people. Mr Landry knows that several years ago Franklin County lost almost $200,000 due to a court ruling affecting the town of Jay. He knows that the Franklin County Budget Committee working with the County Commissioners made the difficult decision to phase out various “ program grants “ over the following three years. He knows that Franklin County’s Budget was adjusted wherever possible to avoid raising taxes and to set priorities. Based on Mr Landry’s Legislative record in Augusta, I’m sure he instead would have supported raising property tax rates by that $200,000. Instead the Commissioners working together with the Budget Committee made a different choice. The agencies knew that the funding was to be phased out in three years, we’ve reached that point. WMT also led us to believe that nearly all of the funding eliminated in the County Budget was being spent on overhead and higher wages for management salaries. WMT, also told the Commissioners that the wages paid to their management team was essentially “ none of our business” and refused to give us salary information. FYI , every other agency provided the salary information that we requested.

  6. Lorna Nichols, Some of the answers you seek are available on the Western Maine Transportation website including a travel study, I would post a link to it, but for some reason when I post a link, my posts end up in the Bulldog spam bin.

  7. If WMT management salaries are none of our business then our tax dollars are none of theirs.

  8. Capt. Planet...... very astute observation....

  9. "I find letters like this disingenuous, especially when politicians attempt to pander to particular individuals or groups of people."

    Charles Webster's letter is no less "pandering" to his base than Mr Landry's ostensible "pandering"
    As a neophyte politician he will probably bet better at it and reluctantly come to grips that most politicians do "pander"