AUBURN — With funding for Western Maine Transportation Services still clearly on his personal chopping block, commissioner Isaiah Lary of Wales made a final attempt Wednesday to eliminate all $42,500 from the regional bus company’s county allocation.

Lary found no partners willing to join his quest.

The Androscoggin County Commission approved the 2019 county budget Wednesday evening, agreeing to all modifications made by the county’s 14-member budget committee, including funds for WMTS.

The $14.3 million budget will raise the county portion of the municipal budgets by 4.88 percent.

The county portion is a sliver of each municipality’s budget — roughly 2 to 5 percent of each city or town, Administrator Larry Post said.

As he did on two earlier occasions during the budget process, Lary sought to deny funding for WMTS. The transportation company had failed to receive funding the past couple of years, but finally won over commissioners this year with its aggressive plans to provide bus services to employees and students throughout the Androscoggin, Franklin and Oxford counties.


Franklin and Oxford counties have provided funds to WMTS for several years.

Lary, however, was not convinced the county should help fund the regional transportation service. Saying it was not the right time to increase spending on new programs, Lary sought from day one to deny funding to WMTS.

Commissioners disagreed, as did the budget committee, which consists of municipal officials from throughout the county. Those officials overwhelmingly approved the expenditure last month.

Lary would not give up the fight. Championing the taxpayer, Lary called it “an expense we don’t need to be making.” He added the recent repairs to the clock and the bells in the tower atop the county building are other examples of wasteful spending by the county.

His plea was met with silence. Lary’s motion to cut all $42,500 from WMTS failed for the lack of a second.

“I do support the process we went through,” Commissioner Raymond Lafrance of Poland said. “The budget committee reviewed it and approved it. It would be an injustice to do anything different.”


“The need is here, and it is warranted,” Commissioner Noel Madore of Lewiston added.

“The county is the logical place to look at regional services,” Post said.

No other cuts were proposed, and the budget passed 5-1. Lary voted no and Melissa Willette was absent.

In other matters, Post announced Angela Molino will become the new director of the Emergency Management Agency.

Molino, the current deputy director, is succeeding longtime EMA director Joanna Potvin, who is retiring next month after 44 years.

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