FARMINGTON — The Franklin County Budget Advisory Committee voted 7-2 Wednesday to approve a $6.19 million budget for 2017-18.

It is $23,750 less than the commissioners’ proposed $6.21 million budget.

Voting in favor of the budget were Selectmen Travis Pond of New Sharon, Tiffany Estabrook of Chesterville, Mike Pond of Strong, David Vincent of Phillips, Ray Gaudette of Phillips, Tim DeMillo of Jay and Chairman Joshua Bell of Farmington.

Opposing it were Selectmen Terry Bergeron of Jay and Ruth Cushman of Wilton.

The only changes the committee made from its preliminary budget were to eliminate a $10,000 equipment reserve account in the communications budget, which reduced it to $913,884, and to fund the Franklin County Children’s Task Force at $5,000. The vote on the communications reduction was unanimous and the task force vote was 5-4.

Commissioners proposed $923,884 for communications and nothing for the task force. The latter organization had requested $10,000. It had been funded at that amount for years. The money is used to support a clothing exchange for families and is emergency money for the task force.

The committee had previously upheld commissioners’ $148,130 in reductions to the program grants in its preliminary budget. Commissioners propose $61,200 for a variety of groups, including social service agencies, adult education, soil and water conservation and economic development.

The committee voted $66,200 for program grants.

Some of the organizations were not funded and some received reduced funding.

More than 100 people showed up at the committee’s June 7 public hearing on the budget. Several of them asked the committee to reconsider the cuts and to restore funding. 

Commissioners are expected to take up the committee’s proposal at their meeting at 9 a.m. Tuesday, June 20, in their office at the county courthouse.

Of the total budget, $2 million is for the county jail and $4.19 million is for county government, not factoring in revenues.

In order for commissioners to amend the committee’s proposal, it will take a unanimous vote of the three commissioners. If they change the budget it will go back to the committee. It will take six out of the nine members to override the commissioners’ amendment.

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