Somerset County budget shot down

SKOWHEGAN, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- Domestic violence calls are up in Somerset County, and the Sheriff's Department wants to add a new deputy to handle the increase. That's one of the issues driving a wedge between the County Commissioners and the Budget Committee there.

County Commissioners rejected a proposed budget by the Budget Committee by a vote of 4 to 1.

The Budget Committee wants to keep spending at the same level as last year. The majority of Commissioners and the County Administrator say they need a bigger budget to offer the same services and address some growing public safety concerns, which could mean dipping into reserve funds.

The two sides will have one more chance to work out a budget that they both agree on.

"I think that we should be partners. We should be a team. We should be working on this together for the greater good," County Administrator Dawn DiBlasi said.

Budget Committee member Dana Berry said he is optimistic.

"I'm sure that the two groups can come up with a budget prior to the end of the year. I think it's gonna take, like I said, some compromise on both parties," he said.

Philip Roy, the lone commissioner who voted for the Budget Committee's proposal, said he believes the Committee will get the budget it wants.

"I don't think the Budget Committee will go along with the County Commissioners' budget. I think what the County Commissioners did was a big slap in the face to the Budget Committee and their hard work that they did," Roy said. "They may not agree on how they got there, but they did their due diligence and their due job, and I do not believe the Budget Committee will accept the County Commissioners' budget."

County Commissioners will meet again tomorrow afternoon to work on a new budget. That budget will be put forward to the Budget Committee for another vote.


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