FARMINGTON — Franklin County Commission approved a proposed unorganized territory budget of $1.77 million for 2023-24 that will now be sent to the state.

The state will review it and if there are no questions it will go to the Legislature in 2023 for review.

The spending plan represents a $262,119.08, or 17%, increase over the existing budget. The new budget will go into effect on July 1, 2023, if approved at the state level.

Fire protection services showed increased amounts. Many of the municipal fire departments cover unorganized townships. Strong Fire Department’s budget to provide service to cover West Freeman in Freeman Township increased from $10,500 to $31,461.38.

Weld Fire Department’s budget to cover Perkins Township decreased from $18,267 to $10,414.25. Eustis Fire Rescue Department’s budget to cover Coburn Gore Township and other townships in that area increased from $24,000 to $50,000, according to county Administrator Amy Bernard’s budget information.

Bernard also added $20,000 for miscellaneous cost for change in services. Commissioners voted in October to not fund Salem Volunteer Fire Association as of July 1, 2023, because training information and other documents requested were not received. Other departments are taking parts of Salem Township, where Mt. Abram High School is located, to provide fire service coverage.


Bernard recommended that they use some of the unorganized territory’s undesignated funds to offset the budget.

In addition, the snow removal services line is up $77,155.25 with all contractors showing increases in their contracts.

In other business, commissioners approved paying $170,193.77 to Maine Public Employee Retirement Services because they did not offer membership to several employees as required for 10 years.

“As a result, the county owes back contribution to the Maine PERS for the earnings that were not reported to us and employer, employee interest,” according to a letter from the program.

The amount breaks down to $117,178.37 for employer contributions, $28,393.77 for employer interest and $24,621.63 for employee interest.

The five affected employees hold elected positions and will receive their own letters and will determine if they want to buy back years for retirement, Bernard said.


The county has to pay the county portion by Nov. 25 or face more interest on the money owed.

Commission Chairman Terry Brann of Wilton said that when they negotiated annual salaries with employees they discussed flex benefits and other benefits.

Brann also brought up the fact that commissioners voted previously not to receive flex benefits, which could go toward retirement programs.

This is dealing with Maine state retirement, not flex benefits, Bernard said.

The county does not have the choice not to offer it, she said.

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.