FARMINGTON — County commissioners Tuesday recommended that the county fully fund $274,313 in requests they received from social and economic programs, up 11 percent from the current fiscal year.

The Franklin County commissioners’ meeting was the first public hearing in the process of finalizing the county budget for the upcoming fiscal year, which will begin July 1. County departments and programs have requested a $5.5 million budget, up 4 percent from the current fiscal year.

The commissioners are expected to finish reviewing all budget requests today and give their recommendations to the Budget Committee, which also will schedule public hearings to review requests for money from the county.

Commissioner Fred Hardy voted against requests from the handful of programs that asked for an increase in funding from the county, including Western Maine Transportation, Western Maine Community Action Program, and Adult Basic and Community Education.

Hardy said if the county cannot afford to increase funding for all programs, then it should not increase funding for just some. The requests for increases were still recommended by the board, voting 2-1 in favor.

Ray Therrien, director of Mt. Blue adult education, said his program requested $23,233, up about $700 over the previous year, from Franklin County and is also trying to get funding from other school districts. The program is partially funded by Franklin County and the Mt. Blue school district.

Therrien said his adult education program serves people from outside the school district because it offers classes not found elsewhere. Some of the students are from Phillips-based School Administrative District 58, but an informal request for funding from its board was rejected, he said.

Today, the commissioners will review budget requests from the sheriff’s department and dispatch center, the district attorney’s office and the courthouse.

The request from the dispatch center includes a request for dispatchers to attend a recertification class through the state every other year. The classes are designed to increase the dispatcher’s skill level and decrease liability. The request states that dispatchers have not been able to attend these classes as regularly as recommended.

Kaitlin Schroeder — 861-9252
[email protected]