Franklin County Sheriff’s Lt. David Rackliffe, right at podium, speaks Thursday to the county budget committee at the county courthouse in Farmington. Rackliffe said there is a need for an additional deputy and to start a reserve account to buy cruisers. Donna M. Perry/Sun Journal

FARMINGTON — The Franklin County Budget Advisory Committee voted Thursday to approve a nearly $9.3 million spending plan for 2023-24 for county government and the jail.

The county budget is $6.5 million and after factoring in revenues it is about $5.8 million. The jail budget, which is separate, is $2.7 million. After factoring in revenues it is $2.4 million.

The amounts towns will be assessed overall is about $8.2 million.

The committee cut the Sheriff’s Office reserve account request in half to make it $100,000. The money is saved to buy cruisers in the future.

A motion to add $158,000 to the jail budget for a generator failed in a 3-3 vote. The more than 40-year-old generator is not expected to last much longer. It powers the jail and the Sheriff’s Office, Sheriff Scott Nichols Sr. said. The person who has worked on the generator for years delivered the news this year.

If the jail does not have a working generator, it would have to shut down, Nichols said, and the consequences would be expensive.


Jail administrator Maj. Doug Blauvelt said one of the requirements of the Maine Department of Corrections is to have a backup generator.

Asked about using American Rescue Plan Act funds, county Administrator Amy Bernard said she is not sure there will be any. The federal government is discussing recalling all unused money towns and counties have been allotted after June 1. The county received $5.86 million and has either spent or pledged most of it to projects.

Attempts to reduce capital reserve accounts failed. The county does not have an audit and it is unknown what the county can afford, committee Chairwoman Tiffany Maiuri of Wilton said.

The total spending package reflects an increase of nearly $1.3 million over the current budget, factoring in revenues on the government and jail budgets.

The majority of the Budget Advisory Committee voted previously to add a 5% cost-of-living raise for nonunion employees, excluding elected part-time officials, which is 2% more than commissioners have in their proposed spending plan. Commissioners do not have to give the higher amount because they have the sole authority to set compensation for employees.

The committee also previously added back money commissioners removed from nonprofit agency requests. The overall committee’s proposal for nonprofits is $297,040, which was approved Thursday, while the commissioners had previously proposed $145,942.

The budget will go back to commissioners who could put the $158,000 for the generator back in. It would take a unanimous vote of the three commissioners to send any changes back to the committee. It would take six of nine members on the committee to override the commissioners’ proposal.

Among the contributing factors to the higher budget are additional staff, salary increases, outsourcing finance operations to a full-service accounting firm, information technologies and the courthouse.

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