FARMINGTON — A Franklin County committee is being formed to review the state statute that governs the county’s budget process.

The committee will be made up of five people.

“We think it would be a good idea to sit down and review the statute,” county Clerk Julie Magoon said.

The law outlines how the budget procedures work in the county.

The 16 counties in Maine operate in various ways, she said.  Some use state statute and others have charters. The committee will look at how those counties that are governed by statute.

Magoon plans to develop a spreadsheet with information for the committee.

Serving on the committee are Magoon, Commissioner Charles Webster of Farmington and county Budget Advisory Committee members Chairman Joshua Bell of Farmington and Bob Luce of Carrabassett Valley. A member of the county’s state delegation will also be named to the committee, she said.

Talks with Bell, Commission Chairman Terry Brann and Magoon during this year’s budget process prompted the idea for a committee. Each year the same issues arise during the process.

“The ultimate goal is to improve the process and clarify the rules between commissioners and the budget committee,” Magoon said.

Commissioners present a proposed spending plan to the Budget Advisory Committee. The nine-member committee made up of three selectmen from each of the three commissioner districts review the proposals. The committee takes a preliminary vote, then holds a public hearing before making a final decision on the budget. According to statute, the county’s legislative delegation is supposed to select one of the delegation’s members to serve as a nonvoting member on the committee.

The budget then goes back to commissioners for review. If they want to make any changes it takes a unanimous vote of the commissioners to send it back to the budget panel. It then takes a two-thirds of the committee to make any changes.

In July, commissioners restored their annual pay to $12,000 each. The budget committee members took a preliminary vote in June to reduce commissioners’ pay to $6,000 and in a final vote in July approved to $1o,000. The budget committee didn’t garner the two-thirds vote needed to override the commissioners’ decision in July. The panel voted 5-4 against the motion to support the commissioners’ decision.


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