FARMINGTON — The Franklin County Budget Advisory Committee voted Wednesday to approve a $5.63 million budget for the county for 2014-15. The spending plan also factors in $1.6 million for the jail.

The budget is $21,000 less than the county commissioners’ proposal of $5.65 million.

The proposal goes back to commissioners at 9 a.m. Tuesday, June 24, at the Franklin County Courthouse.

Commissioners can only increase, decrease, alter or revise the budget adopted by the advisory committee by a unanimous vote. If the adopted budget is changed by the county commissioners, the advisory committee may reject that change by a two-thirds vote of its membership. Those actions are final and are not subject to further action by either the county commissioners or the advisory committee, advisory committee Chairman John Calloway of Avon said.

The committee’s plan is $120,414 more than the current budget. The commissioners’ proposal reflects an increase of $141,414.

The committee rejected adding in $13,946.50 for a restitution specialist to the district attorneys’ budget of $238,467. The reasoning was that the request for the county’s share of 25 percent of the cost of the specialist came in after the commissioners made a budget recommendation and they did not want to set a precedent. The funding for the specialist, who serves the District Attorneys’ Office that includes Franklin, Androscoggin and Oxford counties, was paid for through a federal grant that is no longer available.

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Commissioners will have a chance to add in the money when they review the budget Tuesday.

The communications budget of $884,120 squeaked by in a 4-3 vote by the advisory committee. Those in favor were Scott Taylor of Wilton, Mike Pond of Strong, Mike Pratt of Weld and Calloway. Opposed were Josh Bell and Ryan Morgan, both of Farmington, and Tom Goding of Jay. The Adult Basic Education budget of $22,557 also was approved with an identical vote.

The committee cut the Tri-County Mental Health request in half to make it $10,000 in a 6-1 vote with Pratt opposed.

They also reduced the Greater Franklin Development Corp.’s amount by $10,000 to make it $50,000 in a 6-1 vote with Pratt opposed. The majority of the panel said they want to see results and want to see smaller businesses getting more attention.

The smaller businesses are what is driving the community, Pond said.

Pratt argued that the organization does help the smaller businesses. Half of the $50,000 would come from proceeds from the county’s tax-increment financing district in the unorganized territory.

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The committee approved $25,000 for the Franklin County Soil and Water organization, which is $2,000 more than what commissioners proposed. The vote was 6-1 with Bell opposed.

The committee also increased the Franklin County Firemen’s Association amount to $4,450. The association requested $3,700.

Morgan said it is one organization that the county gets a lot of bang for its buck and collaborates with the fire departments in the county. He said the organization offers training at a reduced cost to the towns.

Bell opposed the increase.

“I don’t see the logic of throwing money at them,” Bell said, when they haven’t asked for more. They can ask for it in next year’s budget, he said.

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