FARMINGTON — The Franklin County sheriff asked the county Budget Advisory Committee on Wednesday to restore $5,000 of the $48,000 it conditionally cut from his budget in May.

The request came during a public hearing on the panel’s proposed $5.78 million budget for 2015-16. It represents a $129,994 increase from this year’s budget. About $1.2 million factored in to fund the jail is under state control and cannot be altered by the committee.

The committee made $136,782 in reductions to the commissioners’ proposed $5.9 million spending plan last month. Some of those cuts were conditional.

Committee Chairman John Calloway of Avon told those gathered in the courtroom of the County Courthouse that this was their last opportunity to make a case to why those reductions should be restored.

The committee will take a final vote on the proposed budget at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 24, at the courthouse. From there, it will go to county commissioners May 30. The only way they could make a change is by a unanimous vote. Then, it will go back to the nine-member Budget Advisory Committee and if it accepts the changes, it would need to be done by a two-thirds vote.

Representatives of each department or program grant-receiver affected by cuts gave reasons why the funding should be restored.


Sheriff Scott Nichols Sr. said he was willing to accept $30,000 being cut from his $90,000 cruiser purchase budget, which would mean he would only get two new cruisers instead of three. He had explained each category of his overall proposed $1.59 million budget to the committee members when he previously met with them. Following that meeting, the committee cut the $30,000 from the cruiser account, $13,000 from his proposed $33,000 public safety budget, and $5,000 from his proposed $10,000 part-time deputies budget.

When Nichols heard that his part-time deputy budget was reduced by half, he said he just about had a heart attack and when he heard his public safety budget was reduced, he stroked out.

“We just don’t know in public safety what we (will) face” in the coming year, he said.

The reduction in the part-time deputies line could increase the overtime budget, if he needs part-time services and doesn’t have the money in that budget, he said. He did not request the $5,000 be restored.

The bigger problem is the reduction in the public safety line, he said, because they don’t know what they will need.

He gave some examples of the opportunities the office has had. In January, they had a chance to get a domestic violence monitoring system for $3,185. It is a device that they could provide to a victim of a serious domestic situation, similar to a Life Alert system, that the victim could hit the button and it would request help, he said.


There was a grant for the system but they had to pay for it up front.

Two weeks ago, he received a bill from the state for $5,225 for the computerized fingerprinting system at the jail that is due in October. They have had the system for a while and they had not been charged for it.

They also had a contract for a phone service and when they changed over to a new provider, they violated the contract and had to pay about $4,000.

All he was asking to be restored is $5,000 of the $13,000 cut to the public safety line, he said.

“It is not a slush fund. It is a very important fund for the unknown,” Nichols said.

District Attorney Andrew Robinson asked the $14,618 for the county’s share of a restitution specialist be restored. The county shares the expense with Androscoggin and Oxford counties.


He explained the specialist’s duties and how she keeps track and in contact with those who owe victims restitution. He said that $42,000 was brought in 2013, about $50,000 in 2014, and as of June, $34,473 was brought in and they are on track to increase the restitution brought in last year by $10,000.

Androscoggin County operates on a January through December financial year and Franklin County on a July 1 through June 30 financial year.

Robinson asked the committee members to leave the money in so that Franklin County commissioners could decide whether they want a part-time position in Franklin County for restitution collection or want to continue sharing the cost with other counties.

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