Franklin Countys First News

Letter to the Editor: Release budgeted funds to WMTS

If you are a resident of Franklin County, please consider contacting your County Commissioners and ask them to release the budgeted funds to Western Maine Transportation Services.

The Daily Bulldog ran an article on this topic on 2/5/20. In an unrelated but simultaneously published article, the Commissioners stated an interest in denying entry by immigrants into Franklin County, as the commission wants to “take care of their own.” Refusing to release allocated funds for social services seems an awkward and puzzling contradiction to a stated goal of caring.

Part of the Commissioners’ defense for not funding WMTS and other nonprofit agencies is that they receive federal grant funding distributed by the state. But as has been explained many times, a local seed amount is required in order to receive those funds. For this reason, the $10,000 in county funds (which was allocated in June but is being withheld) is needed to receive at least double that figure from elsewhere. Without this funding, the local bus is likely to cease at the end of March.

Commissioner Webster stated in the Daily Bulldog that the decision is based on the loss of $200,000 in revenue “several years ago” and that the nonprofits were notified they would be phased out. Apparently, despite the 10,000 being allocated in the budget, Webster now states “the time is now” and the allocated funds will be kept in a surplus fund.

If there is a surplus fund, why not release the funds as allocated?

Some residents have questioned the legality of withholding allocated funding. My question is simple. Why do we have a system of committee (which recommended the funding) and three Commissioners (one of whom recommended the funding and continues to) if months later the funds can still be withheld?

I am also disturbed by the fact that apparently as the rules now stand, if a nonprofit was not on the budget the year prior, they cannot be funded going forward. If true, this extends the reach of the current Commissioners stance concerning funding beyond their term limits. I hope I am incorrect on this point, and if not, that it can be addressed.

Public transportation is much needed in Franklin County. Yes, most riders of the bus cannot drive. But the bus is available to everyone to use. Most people who drive don’t use the ridesharing approach of public transportation. To you, I extend the welcome to save gas and try WMTS. If you do, you will either like it, or understand firsthand the necessity of it for others.

The bus is busy: Jay Head Start kids, people attending weekly PT sessions, medical appointments, volunteering at nursing homes, doing their weekly shopping, going to work, to training programs to name a few uses. The bus is a rideshare program in essence, for those who can’t drive. When I ride to Farmington from Wilton, on average we pick up at least 3 others, make multiple stops on Rte. 2, and multiple stops in Farmington. The same in true on my return. The service comes complete with insurance, wheelchair-lifts, schedulers, mechanics, staff and drivers for $10,000 from the county per year. That is a very good price.

Nancy Walters

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

9 Responses »

  1. By and large in a more civilized and polite political environment the relationships twixt governmental and nonprofit entities providing services that benefit the communities are and should be mutually complementary and self serving in a positive sense that makes both entities "look good" in the served communities eyes

    It is unfortunate that this has become the political football it has become

    Objectively, the payroll/salaries of the service providing nonprofit entities really is none of the County's biz and is a bit of a feigned attempt at a bit off micromanagement desire

    Tax payer protection in every other sentence ain't really "pandering" from the commissioners, it just sounds like "pandering"

  2. The obvious solution would be to take $10K from the salary of the executive director of this ‘nonprofit’. With proper budgeting one can eat on $98K.
    I clearly remember when the commissioners said a few years ago this type of funding will be going to the towns, why doesn’t anyone else? Spread over all towns the cost to each would be slight and more fair if based on each town’s usage. Or better yet just slide it all into Farmington’s budget; they spend money like drunken sailors and wouldn’t even notice such a paltry amount.

  3. CP, have no doubt that the liberal spenders in Farmington will figure a way to get more money out of our broke drunken sailors.You made a very good point when suggesting wmts use a portion of their lucrative salary to help fund the non profit.They were forewarned of the stoppage of county funding and still failed to plan ahead other than to rely on the good hearted liberals that don't have a problem spending everyone else's money.I hope the court commissioners stand their ground.Maybe these non profits should consider becoming for profit.All those in favor of funding non profits are more than welcome to open your own wallets.Myself included for worthy recipients.

  4. If you are asking for public funds, town, county,state or federal in any way shape or form then I would think that a full disclosure of your finances be made available and that includes everyone's salary/wages. If you can't at least provide that information then raise your rates and do some fundraising to become self sustaining. Give them the 10k that was approved last budget season and then send them packing

  5. Having the university continue to be tax exempt as they continue to buy up real estate only increases the burden on taxpayers. I worked for a not for profit hospital and the only reason they can say not for profit is they pass out bonuses to administrators. This was done every year regardless of line staff having to make due with employment shortages. Wake up people, not for profit doesn't mean they're not making money they just appropriate it differently than a regular business. Having non-profits start paying taxes and Farmington could do everything that is needed without reaching in to hardworking Mainers pockets .

  6. Its time to Tax The Churches

  7. Zaphod, churches should remain tax exempt due to what they do for their communities at no cost to the taxpayers. You'd be surprised what they do behind the scenes.

  8. Zaphod,,
    I wish the churches would be taxed.
    Shortly after that, most would have to choose between paying taxes and continuing to help needy people.
    The right choice would be to sell the buildings and get back to what Christ taught us to do. Help People.
    We would meet in our homes.
    Without the burden of these facilities,, the church will explode in its effectiveness in people's lives.
    I'm looking forward to that day.
    Take the damn buildings.
    Who cares about all that "property"

  9. People are finally waking up to the fact that people that really care are getting a bum rap from people that only only care to the extent of their own financial comfort. Our good fortune is all the checks and balances in our system which at least bring some of this to the light of day. When you hear "care" and "money" in the same conversation, beware. What truthfully made care and giving so noble to begin with was the fact "When one gave more they kept less". Great honor and respect was given to individuals in our Native American tribes that give away everything they had and started over.This concept has died a slow death since we left the gold standard and no longer have to deal with the consequences of our actions. I cant help but chuckle when I hear the terms "matching funds", "national debt" and Shangri-La all places I visited in the sixties and I promise you every one is a mirage. There is a never ending assault on our tax dollars by people that will never get enough regardless of how the rest of us live. If you do not want to support common sense with our tax dollars local or national just cut a personal check, nobody will mind. As far as anybodys salary thats accepting tax money being none of our business I guess I will never understand that one. Oh yes and while I am on the subject of taxes do you think some of the Bernie supporters might be frustrated supporters of the flat tax? Have fun with that.