FARMINGTON — The Franklin County Budget Advisory Committee will hold its initial meeting Monday on the commissioners’ proposed $8.9 million spending plan for county government and the jail for 2023-24.

The current combined budget is nearly $7.4 million.

The commissioners’ proposed county government budget reflects an increase of $1.16 million, or 21.7%, over the current budget and more than $363,288, or 17.8%, over existing jail spending. Department heads requested higher amounts.

Contributing to the increase are an additional deputy position for the Sheriff’s Office and an additional corrections officer position for the jail, according to county budget information. Sheriff Scott Nichols Sr. had proposed adding three deputy and two corrections officer positions, including related expenses such as equipment, training and uniforms.

Another increase is attributed to outsourcing the finance operations for the county. Commissioners previously voted to hire Berry Talbot Royer, a full-service accounting firm in Falmouth, to take over the accounts payable process, and all reconciliations of accounts and ledger for the county, unorganized territory, tax-increment financing program, and American Rescue Plan Act funds. The cost for the service is $100,000 year, according to the budget summary.

“Increase in staff at the jail, Sheriff’s Office, information technologies, and courthouse is a large factor in the budget increase,” according to information from county Administrator Amy Bernard. “Costs for the county are increasing. Salary increases for existing employees that were deferred for multiple years were given in late June 2022, which was not incorporated in last year’s budget. Instead, they were paid out of (the county’s) undesignated funds.”


The decisions made by the commissioners to use undesignated funds along with American Rescue Plan Act funds for capital and operating costs of the county resulted in artificially low prior year’s budget cost, Bernard wrote.

“The union increases were exceptionally high this year, and contractual costs continue to increase,” she wrote. “Along with a prior history of not budgeting for expenses nor capital costs creates a jump in the county and jail budgets. We look forward to having a conversation about all these changes.”

The meeting will be held at 5:30 p.m. at the Franklin County Courthouse, upstairs in the courtroom. The nine-member committee will elect a chairperson before members review the budget process and procedures.

On March 20, committee members were elected to three-year positions by fellow town selectpersons from the county, including Gary McGrane of Jay, Stephan Bunker of Farmington and Janet White of Philips. John Archer of Chesterville was elected to a two-year term.

They will join one-year term members Tiffany Maiuri of Wilton, Matthew Smith of Farmington and Bob Luce of Carrabassett Valley and two-year term members Tom Goding of Jay and Morgan Dunham of Kingfield.

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