FARMINGTON — The Franklin County Budget Advisory Committee on Wednesday upheld commissioners’ decision to cut $148,130 in social service agency requests, and reduced a proposed $6.2 million budget by $18,750.

Several county residents stood silently in the back of the courtroom holding placards supporting funding the programs. Commissioners reduced the requests from $209,330 to $61,200. Five agencies got no money and four others had cuts.

The commissioners’ budget proposal for 2017-18 is $334,065 more than the current year, which is attributed to more expenses at the jail. Of the $6.2 million budget, $2 million is for the jail. It is $338,738 more than this year.

The county budget proposal alone is $4.21 million, $4,673 less than the current budget. Neither budget factors in revenues.

The budget panel’s preliminary spending plan of $6.2 million is $315,315 more than this year.

A public hearing on the proposed budget will be held at 6 p.m. June 7 at the county courthouse. Representatives of the departments and agencies will be given 10 minutes to say why the program should be funded, budget panel Chairman Joshua Bell said. A tentative date for the budget committee to finalize its proposal is June 14.

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Once the panel’s budget is set it will go back to commissioners. It would take a unanimous vote of the three commissioners to amend a budget category. The proposal would then go back to the budget panel. It would take six of the nine members of the committee to vote to override the commissioners’ proposed amendment.

The budget committee cut $10,000 for a part-time position from the District Attorney’s budget; $7,500 for a software time clock from the treasurer’s budget; and $1,250 from the Technical Services budget for the webmaster. The budget has no money for a stipend for the webmaster position.

Committee member David Vincent, a selectman from Phillips, said he spoke to IT Systems Director Jim Desjardins and was told that if the webmaster did not have to pull in arrest information and mugshots from the jail they could eliminate the stipend, he said.

That takes an “inordinate” amount of time, Vincent said he was told.

Desjardins told him the website can be updated within the current webmaster’s hours, Vincent said. 

Commissioners included $1,250 for the position in their proposal.

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The most discussion came under program grant requests. Several budget committee members said they thought the programs were worthwhile but upheld commissioners’ amounts.

There were several mixed votes for the programs.

Franklin County Children’s Task Force, Adult Basic Education, Greater Franklin Development Council, Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Services, and Androscoggin Home Care and Hospice were not funded.

Funded at reduced amounts were Western Maine Transportation, $7,500; Western Maine Community Action, $20,000; SeniorsPlus, $10,000; and Franklin County Soil and Water Conservation District, $20,000.

Franklin County Firemen’s Association was given its requested $3,700. The money is used for training.

Bell told committee members that they need to be thinking about economic development and how it will be done in the county.

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Members of the Franklin County Budget Advisory Committee, all town selectmen, listen to Chairman Joshua Bell of Farmington, center, at a meeting Wednesday night in Farmington. From left are Ray Gaudette of Phillips, Tiffany Estabrook of Chesterville (hidden,) Terry Bergeron and Tim DeMillo, both of Jay, Bell, Ruth Cushman of Wilton, David Vincent of Phillips, Travis Pond of New Sharon and Mike Pond of Strong. 

The Franklin County Budget Advisory Committee, all town selectmen, vote on $20,000 for Western Maine Community Action on Wednesday night in Farmington. From left are Ray Gaudette of Phillips, Tiffany Estabrook of Chesterville, Terry Bergeron and Tim DeMillo, both of Jay, Chairman Joshua Bell of Farmington, Ruth Cushman of Wilton, David Vincent of Phillips, Travis Pond of New Sharon and Mike Pond of Strong. 

Several people from Franklin County held signs in support of funding social service agencies Wednesday during a Franklin County Budget Advisory Committee meeting at the county courthouse in Farmington. From left are Eileen Liddy, Betty Jespersen and Fenwick Fowler.

Several people from Franklin County held signs in support of funding social service agencies Wednesday during a Franklin County Budget Advisory Committee meeting in Farmington.

Several people from Franklin County stand in the back of the courtroom with signs supporting funding for social service agencies Wednesday during a Franklin County Budget Advisory Committee meeting in Farmington. 


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