FARMINGTON — One by one, representatives of social service agencies and the county economic development council stepped to the podium Wednesday to request the Franklin County Budget Advisory Committee to restore funding.

County commissioners eliminated or reduced funding for nonprofits and social service agencies that are traditionally funded by Franklin County.

The committee upheld the commissioners’ actions.

More than 100 people attended the committee’s public hearing on a proposed $6.2 million budget.

Each rrepresentative or a person who used the services of those groups explained what services they provided and how the money is used.

Most agencies use the funds to leverage more money to provide more services in the county, representatives said.

Renee Whitley, executive director of Franklin County Children’s Task Force in Farmington, said the agency uses the $10,000 the county traditionally gives for a clothing exchange program for families in the community. It is also used for emergency funding for families and to help support an educational grant to provide transportation to students.

Ed David, a representative of Greater Franklin Development Council in Farmington, said that organization has helped bring businesses to the county to create jobs and to help existing businesses.

If the county does not restore funding for the program, he said Franklin County would be the only one in the state to not have economic development services.

The committee is expected to meet June 14 to make its decision on a budget.

Proposed at get no money are: Franklin County Children’s Task Force, which requested $10,000; Adult Basic Education, which requested $10,500; Greater Franklin Development Council, which requested $60,000; Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Services, which requested $10,000;  and Androscoggin Home Care and Hospice, which requested $20,130.

Funded at less and requested were Western Maine Transportation, which requested $10,000 and funded at $7,500; Western Maine Community Action, which requested $30,000 and was funded at $20,000; SeniorsPlus, which requested $30,000 and was funded at $10,000; and Franklin County Soil and Water Conservation District, which requested $25,000 and was funded at $20,000.

After the committee sets its budget, the package will go back to county commissioners. To change an amount, commissioners would have to vote unanimously on it. If there is a change, it would then go back to the committee, which will need six of its nine members to agree to the change. That will be the final action on a proposed budget.

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Renee Whitley, executive director of the Franklin County Children’s Task Force in Farmington, tells the Franklin County Budget Advisory Committee on Wednesday what her agency does and what the county’s $10,000 would support if the committee restores funding to the Task Force.


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