A longtime incumbent Franklin County commissioner is being challenged for his District 1 seat by a former member of the Franklin County budget committee.

Terrance Brann, R-Wilton, is running against Gary McGrane, D-Jay, who has served for 28 years as a Franklin County commissioner representing District 1, which includes the towns of Carthage, Jay, Wilton and Temple.

During his nine years on the Wilton Selectboard, Brann was a three-time member of the Franklin County budget advisory committee, which is composed of selectmen from Franklin County towns. After the commissioners hear budget requests from the county departments, they formulate a budget proposal, which then goes before the Franklin County budget advisory committee.

While serving on that committee, Brann said, he scrutinized the budget, asking questions on almost every item to ensure the county was not wasting tax dollars on unneeded items or services.

“I love to scrutinize budgets,” Brann said. “I don’t think it’s fair for the taxpayers to have to afford everything if they don’t have a say in it.”

Brann said he is critical of the county’s allotments of money to social service programs. He said that even finding small budget cuts help on the larger scale. With the dynamics of the tax base changing in Franklin County, Brann said the county needs to be tight with its budget. As the state of the Verso mill in Jay fluctuates, most recently with the announcement of 190 layoffs, Brann said big tax bases might shift to places such as Carrabassett Valley.

McGrane, who studied public administration, said he looks to save the county money by finding creative ways to bring new revenue into the county to ease the county’s reliance on property taxes and spur economic development needed in the county.

“One of the things that I’ve always advocated is trying to find other revenue sources in order to keep the county budget down,” McGrane said.

Most recently, McGrane said, he is pleased with the county commissioners’ approval of amending the county’s tax increment financing agreement with TransCanada Maine Wind Development because the agreement will help fund development in the northern part of the county.

The tax break agreement, which has been in place since 2008, captures a portion of the tax revenue on TransCanada’s 44-turbine wind farm on Kibby Mountain and Kibby Ridge. While some of the revenue goes back to the company in the form of a credit enhancement agreement, under the amended terms of the TIF agreement, the county will receive an additional $12.4 million, for a total of over $16 million in captured revenue by the time the TIF expires in 2038.

The money the county receives through this agreement can be used for an array of development purposes in the county’s northern half. McGrane said this TIF will help fund the promotion of tourism and the building of communication and broadband Internet infrastructure in Franklin County.

Because TIF revenue can fund these developments, McGrane said, the county will benefit economically at no cost to the taxpayers. He also favors applying for grants as an alternate way to seek funding for the county.

Aside from saving county residents money on their tax bills, both candidates said they were running because they enjoy serving the people. Brann said he would be excited to bring a new set of eyes to the table if elected, while McGrane said his experience will help him continue to serve Franklin County residents.

Lauren Abbate — 861-9252

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Twitter: @Lauren_M_Abbate