Budget committee, commissioners agree on everything

Knox County just about finished deliberating over $7.2 million in ARPA funds distribution

Mon, 05/02/2022 - 7:45pm

Story Location:
Knox County Courthouse
62 Union St.
Rockland, ME 04841
United States

    ROCKLAND – Knox County Commissioners and the Knox County Budget Committee met via  Zoom April 28 to again deliberate on how to spend $7.2 million in American Rescue Plan Act directed to the county. Motions were made, with the Budget Committee voting first, followed by the Commissioners.  

    The breakdown of spending recommendations are as follows:

    The Budget Committee voted 6 to 0 to spend $596,269 on county employee stipends. The Knox County Commissioners voted 2 to 1 in favor.

    In another vote for $32,472  in stipends, the committee voted 6 to 0 in favor, with the commissioners voting unanimously in favor, as well. 

    Both the committee and the Commissioners voted unanimously in favor of spending $6,050 on correctional building maintenance.

    The Budget Committee failed initially to approve a motion to distribute $9,000 to the 18 Knox County EMA directors in order to give them a stipend of $500 each. The Commissioners, on the other hand, voted 2 to 1 in favor of that motion. 

    Following some debate and another, the motion to distribute stipends to EMA directors passed unanimously by both committee members and commissioners. 

    Another motion  to send Isle au Haut $175,000 for affordable Housing failed in the Budget Committee and before the Commissioners, although one commissioner did vote in favor of the spending.

    And, a motion to spend $275,000 for an ambulance in Union for mutual-aid purposes failed before the Budget Committee at a vote of two in favor and four against; but the Commissioners approved it at a vote of two to one.

    Both entities also voted separately yet unanimously in favor of spending:

    $300,000 on outdated communication microwave equipment;

    $180,000 on a correctional whole body security scanning system;

    $196,400 on completing Phase 4 of the Knox County Jail’s heating and ventilation upgrade project; 

    $840,000 to replace 84 doors in the correctional buildings;

    $34,000 on a radio equipment upgrade;

    $20,000 to replace a hazmat decontamination tent;

    $10,000 to upgrade audio/video equipment in the Commissioners’ hearing room;

    $300,000 on multiuse watercraft to serve the islands;

    $20,000 to pay a consultant for EMS and fire department organizational review;

    $29,687 to cover a shortfall in cleaning contractor during COVID;

    $100,000 to make building renovations for Come Spring Food Pantry;

    $60,000 for the expansion of Meals on Wheels;

    $160,000 for Sexual Assault Services of Midcoast Maine;

    $1,200,000 for health services of the Knox County Clinic and the Town of Thomaston;

    After those matters were considered, the Commissioners and Budget Committee discussed what to do with the remaining $2,308,548.

    Both entities had set aside $200,000 for audits, consultants and legal fees associated with the distribution of monies and also included the amount already spent on stipends by the county in 2021.  

    Finally, a motion to allocate $1.8 million to the Knox County Homeless Coalition passed unanimously in both the committee and before the Commissioners. The homeless coalition had originally asked for $4.1 million for various projects.  

    This leaves a balance of $508,048 in ARPA funds left unallocated.  

    This is not a final approved list. It will not be final until the budget committee and commissioners vote after a public hearing scheduled for Tuesday May 17, at 6 p.m. That meeting will be held via Zoom.