SKOWHEGAN, Maine — The Somerset County commissioners voted last week not to use roughly $500,000 in surplus from the county jail’s budget for general county operations, citing the motion as “illegal.”
Commissioner Bob Dunphee said the surplus was not enough to dip into.
“If it would have been $700,000, we would have voted to use $250,000 of it,” he said Thursday. “You don’t run a business, you don’t run a county without some surplus,” he added.
The commissioners had hoped to use some of the surplus to restore an unfilled position at the registry of deeds and one maintenance position at the county offices that the budget committee previously had considered cutting.
Instead, they voted at a meeting Wednesday to use the county contingency fund to pay for the two positions.
“The contingency funds are funds that can be used at the discretion of county commissioners for emergency purposes,” said County Administrator Robin Weeks. “There were several departments that considered this an emergency.”
The commissioners voted to continue to fund a part-time clerk at the registry of deeds at $12,379 a year and a part-time maintenance position at the county offices at $25,497 a year.