FARMINGTON — Franklin County commissioners voted Tuesday to allow $550 to be spent from the district attorney’s budget to lease additional office space above the District Attorney’s Office on Main Street.

The Franklin County District Attorney’s staff moved from the basement of the Franklin County Courthouse in October 2011 into rented space owned by Craig Jordan of Farmington. Commissioners signed a five-year lease with Jordan. The office space, about 2,000 square feet, is in the back section of a building across from Farmington District Court, a few buildings down from the county courthouse.

Andrew Robinson, deputy district attorney for Prosecutorial District 3, serving Androscoggin, Franklin and Oxford counties, asked commissioners about transferring funds from last year’s Franklin County office budget to be used to lease additional space.

Robinson, a former assistant district attorney in Farmington, said that when the DA’s Office space was leased, Jordan cleared an apartment above the office and kept it vacant. Concern was raised at the time that voices would carry when confidential matters were discussed.

The space now rented is adequate for the Franklin County DA’s Office, he said. But there is a need for more space to accommodate Maine State Police detectives assigned to the DA’s Office, Assistant Attorney General David Fisher and Robinson, who does some work there. They currently share office space within the DA’s Office. State police had previously used an office in the Department of Corrections probation office, located in the state building that houses the district court.

That office has been divided with separate entrances for adult and juvenile probation services.

Jordan has agreed to rent the space above the conference room in the DA’s Office for $200 a month, Robinson told commissioners.

The tri-county DA’s Office budget does not have enough money in it this year to pay the rent, he said. That budget runs from Jan. 1 to Dec. 31.

The state doesn’t have the money, either, he said.

Jordan will take $100 a month to rent the space until Jan. 1, 2014, Robinson said. The rent until that time would be $550. Robinson said Jordan is being incredibly generous.

The Franklin County DA’s budget has unspent funds in expert witnesses, chemist and transcript lines in last year’s budget, which ended June 30, Robinson said.

County Clerk Julie Magoon said the books have been closed for last year. Any undedicated leftover funds rolled over into the county’s undesignated fund, she said.

The only way the money could be attained is if it is taken out of the lease line from the current budget, she said. That line would be overdrafted at the end of the year, but as long as they don’t spend $550 elsewhere in the budget, it would work, she said.

“This is all about timing,” Robinson said.

State police will equip the additional space with a secure wireless network.

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