FARMINGTON — Franklin County’s 2018-2019 budget will go back to the county budget committee for review after commissioners Tuesday voted to approve additional spending for a capital account in the communications department.

The three county commissioners voted unanimously to approve $10,000 for equipment reserves in the department — a move that will now require the budget to go back to the committee for final approval.

The additional $10,000 was the only change made by commissioners Tuesday in the overall $6.56 million proposed budget.

Commissioners also discussed program grants, which are funds requested by area nonprofits for social services, but did not make any changes to that budget despite controversy over the spending in the past.

District 2 Commissioner Charlie Webster and District 1 Commissioner Terry Brann both voted to reduce the amount of spending proposed for program grants, but District 3 Commissioner Clyde Barker voted in favor of the budget committee’s higher level of spending.

In order for commissioners to change the budget, a unanimous vote is needed.


Webster, who has been a vocal opponent of using county money to fund program grants, has said he would not sign warrants for pay if the budget committee stuck with an additional $20,000 in spending that commissioners were not recommending.

On Tuesday, he said he would “wait and see” before deciding if he will follow through on his pledge to not sign warrants for pay and in the meantime will seek more information from Western Maine Community Action, the top recipient of the funds.

“They have said they need this money for matching grants and I want to talk to them about that,” Webster said. “Normally I’m not vague, but I haven’t had a chance to reach out to them and I’d like to see how their grant program works before deciding.”

In other news Tuesday, the commission also voted to draft a letter to Central Maine Power asking the company to discuss with them a proposed Quebec to Massachusetts power line through Franklin County.

Though commissioners last winter wrote a letter in support of the project, they plan to ask CMP to meet with them again for more information, Webster said.

Rachel Ohm — 612-2368

[email protected]

Twitter: @rachel_ohm

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