FARMINGTON — Franklin County commissioners voted Tuesday to have the county’s attorney review a new state law that gives the Board of Corrections more authority over the county jail system.

They also agreed to spend up to $500 on the review.

Commissioners want to know if the Board of Corrections has the authority to cut $100,000 from the jail budget. That $100,000 would be sent to the Board of Corrections to help other jails in the system.

The county is being requested to pay the additional money. That brings its tab up to $730,576 for 2014-15.

It does not mean more money will need to be raised through taxation. County taxpayers raise $1.6 million for the jail annually, which was capped in 2008 by the state for the consolidated jail system. The local jail’s mission was changed at that time from a fully operational jail to a 72-hour holding facility.

It essentially means that $100,000 more of the county’s money will be sent to the state, county Clerk Julie Magoon said. The county is allowed to save some money for unexpected expenses. There is about $400,000 in the account.


Commissioners also want to know if there would be any penalties assessed to the county if commissioners decide not to send the additional money.

Commission Chairman Fred Hardy of New Sharon said he wanted the new law, LD 1824, enacted earlier this year, to be reviewed. The governor vetoed the bill but the Legislature overrode the veto.

When the state board asked Sheriff Scott Nichols Sr. and Hardy to give them $100,000 from the surplus in June, they refused. The law allows the county to keep some savings to be used for corrections. The jail needs a roof and a second new transport van.

The Board of Corrections then decided to cut the county’s jail budget by $100,000, which will make the county operations come up short next spring, Nichols previously said.

Magoon told commissioners that the auditor recommended developing a capital improvement plan for the jail and earmark some of the surplus funds to create reserves for a roof at $150,000 and $40,000 for the van and $15,000 to $20,000 for future improvements.

This would let the Board of Corrections know that they have a plan and protect the surplus the county has built up, she said.

Commissioners voted to approve jail manager Maj. Doug Blauvelt’s request to buy a first transport van, a 2014 Chevrolet, for $30,135 from Emerson Chevrolet in Auburn. Commissioners previously approved buying a van from another dealership for $2,922 less.

The van was not available because of the time lapse between submitting the bid to the Board of Corrections and that board putting it on its agenda in June, he said. The Board of Corrections denied the request to buy the van and told the county to take it out of its savings, according to Nichols.

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