FARMINGTON — Franklin County commissioners passed the $5.5 million county budget Tuesday morning, voting to make no changes from budget committee recommendations.

The impact on property taxes remains to be calculated by the county clerk, according to Commissioner Clyde Barker.

The budget is up 4 percent from last year’s $5.29 million budget. The tax amount paid to the county by property owners is currently $1.01 per $1,000 of assessed property value. The county tax accounts for part of the municipal tax rate paid by property owners.

The budget committee added $14,000 to the county commissioners’ original budget recommendation passed the first week of April.

The final budget passed 2-1, with Commissioner Fred Hardy opposing the proposal. He said he had concerns about a handful of increases and decreases made to economic and social service programs. Hardy said he felt that if some programs were increased above flat funding, then all programs would want increases, which the county cannot afford.

“The budget would keep creeping up and before you know it would be astronomically high,” he said.

He also said some programs that were decreased below flat funding should have been raised back to their original budget levels.

The commissioners voted 2-1 to pass budget committee recommendations to decrease funding for adult education, Greater Franklin Development Corp. and Threshold to Maine Resource Conservation and Development Area, which helps the county with natural resource use.

Commissioner Gary McGrane said the budget committee members cut $5,000 from the $23,233 requested by adult education because it’s also funded through school district taxes.

He said commissioners cut $6,000 from the $60,000 request by Greater Franklin Development Corp. because county officials would like to see it use more resources for helping small businesses and bringing jobs to the area.

He said commissioners did not fund any of the $750 requested by Threshold to Maine because the nonprofit organization did not send a representative to the meeting to explain how it would spend the money.

The county budget also includes $1.5 million for the sheriff’s department and $792,479 for the communications center. The sheriff’s department budget includes minor increases for new technology purchases, including small cameras that deputies can wear while on duty.

Kaitlin Schroeder — 861-9252
[email protected]

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