Auburn – The Androscoggin County Fee took its first steps to handle an enormous shortfall within the 2023 county jail finances, transferring $236,000 in medical insurance coverage for retirees to a basic profit account established for county workers and retirees.
Sheriff Eric Samson mentioned the cash ought to have been faraway from the jail finances years in the past, however it stayed there.
The county is taking a look at a $773,000 shortfall for its jail finances. Interim County Administrator Clarice Proctor has proposed utilizing $300,000 from reserves to assist fill the outlet, however commissioners have but to log off on the plan. He’s scheduled to evaluation the jail finances in his subsequent assembly on 7 September.
Proctor and jail administrator Jeffrey Chutte have informed commissioners that there’s nothing to chop the finances.
Proctor suggests areas the place the expenditure might be taken out of the jail finances, solely to change into a price on the county aspect of the finances. The transfer won’t be brief of what’s initially anticipated to be a 9% tax hike.
The jail finances differs from the county finances as a result of it receives state funding. In response to the county, the state will ship $2.22 million to Androscoggin County to assist prisoners. The county may have some further income for different sentencing packages and boarding prisoners, however the complete invoice for the jail is greater than $8.4 million, a rise of 11%.
A brand new invoice handed by the Legislature earlier this 12 months prevents counties from elevating the tax cap for the subsequent 12 months, Proctor informed commissioners two weeks in the past. In earlier years, the county was in a position to improve the cap to three%, however the improve was typically lower than that.
In the course of the second of three deliberate finances hearings on Wednesday, commissioners made some deductions, beginning with eliminating $58,000 in capital expenditures for the constructing account. Two initiatives have been minimize, with $30,000 to improve the lighting to LED and $28,000 to color the steps on the Court docket Road aspect of the constructing.
As of final week, commissioners held off on approving pay traces in every division’s finances till it may think about suddenly. The county has proposed a 5% improve throughout the board, which has upset some board members.
The board voted in opposition to approving the emergency administration company’s finances. The commissioners questioned the water account, which rose by over 300%. As a result of it’s in Lewiston Central Fireplace Station, the EMA is liable for 12.5% of the price of water with the town of Lewiston. The commissioner needed an evidence as to why the price of water elevated a lot.
The commissioners made modest cuts to their division’s finances, deducting $2,000 from authorized charges and half of the proposed $900 for advantages.
With the necessity to rent a brand new info know-how director, Proctor mentioned the beginning wage finances was too low to discover a certified individual. The finances amounted to $63,000, and the proctor mentioned his preliminary search revealed that the county must pay no less than $75,000.
“Dispatches must be on-line always,” mentioned Proctor, asking whether or not they can meet with a part-time or contracted IT individual. “We would like somebody the place it’s their first precedence. What if we go down?”
The commissioners agreed to maneuver $25,000 out of the service contract line to extend the IT director’s wage to $88,000.