RUMFORD — The Finance Committee unanimously voted Monday evening to echo the Board of Selectmen’s approval of the Police Department’s $779,342 budget proposal.

Police Chief Stacy Carter said he originally presented a $729,342 budget to the Board of Selectmen on March 6 and it was voted down, 1-3.

“They told me that they wanted me to calculate what it would cost to add a detective’s position to the department,” Carter told the Finance Committee. “I figured out that it would cost about $50,000.”

Selectmen approved the $779,342 by a 3-1 vote.

Carter said that due to the budget cuts made during the 2013-14 fiscal year, the Police Department was forced to eliminate an administration position and a detective’s position, leaving the Police Department with one detective instead of two.

“This year, the number of sexual assaults and child abuse cases that we’ve picked up, or have had referred to us through the (state) Department of (Health and) Human Services, has increased significantly,” Carter told the Finance Committee. “Prior to this year, with two detectives, we were able to be very proactive with our investigations, and would do as much as we could.”

Carter said detectives are “very effective with drug cases.”

“Most crimes that we deal with in the area, whether it’s domestic assault, theft, burglary or sexual assault, are drug-related,” Carter said. “With only one detective working, we’re not able to focus on these cases to the extent we were before. We’re not going to be able to reduce those numbers. It takes a lot of work to get a successful prosecution.”

Committee member Richard Greene asked Carter and police Capt. Daniel Garbarini how they felt about their increased workload now that the Police Department has fewer officers.

Garbarini, who said that he mostly handles cases involving child abuse or sex crimes, said as more sex crimes are reported and more cases are opened, it becomes difficult for one officer to juggle all of the cases at once.

“I can’t do it all,” Garbarini said to Greene. “I can’t service all of the people. There are a lot of victims out there that I’m trying to help, and unfortunately, some of them have to be put on hold. I do the best I can, and I’m always very honest with people, explaining that there’s only so much I can do for them. That sucks for a victim to hear.”

Committee member Josanne Dolloff said she “100 percent supported” Carter’s budget, adding she thought the Police Department required two detectives to handle the greater number of cases.

In other business, the Finance Committee approved the $644,481 Fire Department budget by a vote of 6-1.

Dolloff was the dissenting vote.

Fire Chief Robert Chase said a lot of the budget increase was an attempt to make up for items that he did not budget for the previous year.

The Finance Committee also approved the $50,252 Code Enforcement budget by a 6-1 vote, with Dolloff dissenting.

Dolloff said she “could not support” the Code Enforcement Officer budget being a full-time position.

Town Manager John Madigan said he “fully supported” Code Enforcement Officer Rick Kent being paid for a 40-hour week, since that position has “traditionally been full time.”

“If you look back through the previous years, that position was budgeted for 40 hours a week,” Madigan said. “The only reason that the position was cut to 32 was because of the budget cuts last year, and the fact that the town was trying to get a budget passed. It takes a lot of work to do the things he does. That’s why I fully support it.”

The Finance Committee will meet at 6 p.m. Wednesday, April 9, at the Rumford Falls Auditorium to continue discussing department budgets.

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