LEWISTON — Councilors could come out against changes in the Androscoggin County charter that City Administrator Ed Barrett said misses the point.

“There have been issues regarding the county charter and the budget process,” Barrett told councilors during a workshop meeting Tuesday night. “One has been the section of the county charter that requires the county Budget Committee must approve salaries and benefits for commissioners and other elected officials. But a second issue has been the county Budget Committee and its ability to require changes in the county budget.”

Voters countywide will go to the polls in November to vote on amending the newly adopted Androscoggin County charter to require a simple majority of the county Budget Committee to approve salary or benefit changes for county commissioners.

But the amendment includes the phrase, “Notwithstanding the final authority of the Board of Commissioners over the adoption of the County budget…”

It’s not clear the commissioners have that authority, according to the current charter, Barrett said.

“I will note it’s one of the issues of a lawsuit, that the municipal communities say the board does not have that authority,” Barrett said.

Councilors agreed to vote on a resolution opposing the amendment.

“Not only do I support this, I would support spending money on an ad so people can actually see it,” Councilor Mark Cayer said.

The county commission voted a year ago to reinstate a number of cuts the Budget Committee had approved, igniting a battle over which group had final say. Those included cuts to county commissioner salary and benefits.

Budget Committee members had voted to cut commissioners’ annual salaries and to do away with health insurance coverage for commissioners and their families.

The move angered members of the 14-member Budget Committee and municipal officials around Androscoggin County, and 13 of the 14 communities filed suit.

Commissioners voted in May to send their version of the charter changes to the November polls.

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