AUBURN — The Androscoggin County Budget Committee will begin reviewing the proposed 2019 budget Wednesday, Sept. 26, at the county courthouse.

The committee elected Norman Beauparlant as chairman and Allen Ward of Lisbon as vice chairman of the 14-member panel at last week’s initial meeting.

Lewiston City Councilors Kristin Cloutier and Alicia Rea are the newest members on the committee, replacing former Councilors Shane Bouchard and Michael Lachance. Bouchard is Lewiston’s mayor, and Lachance is running for a seat in the Legislature.

One vacancy remains in District 3, which includes Greene, Durham and part of Lewiston. That position as been vacant for more than a year.

The committee received a brief overview of the budget by county Administrator Larry Post. He said his goal in preparing the budget was to keep taxes reasonable, try to rebuild the fund balances and improve the reserve accounts.

While last year’s budget only went up a quarter of a percent, the tax bump was more than 5.5 percent because of less revenue and mandated costs for the jail budget.


This year’s increase, however, is tentatively set at 5 percent.

Post noted the change was due to an increase in staff, approved last year by both commissioners and the Budget Committee. The increase in staffing includes two patrol deputies, a records clerk and a civil deputy. 

The district attorney is also requesting a new trial assistant to provide support for a new attorney assigned to the county by the state.

Post also noted the new union contract and the likely increase in health insurance.

“There is no fluff in this budget,” Post said. “This is a reasonable budget moving forward.

Auburn City Councilor Andrew Titus noted that commissioners only cut $500 from the initial proposed budget. He wondered if the 5 percent proposed tax increase would be the norm for the county moving forward. He asked fellow committee members to think about goals as it starts to review the budget.


Post urged the panel to not just look ahead to the coming year, but look long-term.

Cloutier, one of the few committee members to attend all budget hearings held by the county commissioners, said she thought the budget appears reasonable.

“This is a pretty bare-bones budget,” Cloutier said. “I can say that in all honesty and not feel bad about it. There is a responsibility to the tax rate. There is also a responsibility to services we provide our constituents. We have to figure out that balance.”

The panel has scheduled budget reviews for Wednesdays, Sept. 26 and Oct. 3 and 10, with a contingency of Thursday, Oct. 11, if needed. All meetings start at 6 p.m.

The committee made one change to its schedule, moving the public hearing and its final vote on the budget from Halloween night to Thursday, Nov. 1.

Androscoggin County Building in Auburn. 

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