Livermore Falls to vote on leaving Androscoggin County on referendum ballot

Posted Nov. 04, 2013, at 9:09 a.m.

LIVERMORE FALLS, Maine — Voters on Tuesday, Nov. 5, will consider a referendum to withdraw from Androscoggin County to join Franklin County.

If voters approve the referendum, it is not a done deal. Voters in Androscoggin and Franklin counties will need to vote on it in June 2014.

The polls will be open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. at the Town Office.

Livermore Falls is at the northernmost tip of Androscoggin County and abuts Jay in southern Franklin County. The two counties have differences and similarities and advantages and disadvantages. Androscoggin County was estimated in 2012 to have about 107,609 residents and Franklin County, 30,630, according to the U.S. Census.

Livermore Falls voters approved the county change in June by a 162-124 vote. The vote came prior to the Legislature voting on the proposal and needs to be revoted. They had approved studying the benefits of the move twice within the last decade.

Town officials have said joining Franklin County would cut costs for the Police Department to travel to courts and the jail. Instead of going more than 29 miles to courts in Lewiston and Auburn and the jail in Auburn, they would travel less than 15 miles to Farmington for those services.

“Going to Farmington cuts our time and costs for traveling in half, which is a substantial savings to the Police Department budget and the taxpayers of Livermore Falls,” Town Manager Kristal Flagg told legislators earlier this year.

For residents who need court services or county government services, the travel time would also be shorter. If the measure is approved, deeds would be registered in Franklin County from the day it goes into effect. Deeds are also listed online now in the counties and title searches could be done that way. Registering a deed costs the same in each county.

Livermore Falls already works and shares services with towns in Franklin County, more so than towns in Androscoggin County, Flagg said previously.

The town currently pays $160,074 in taxes to Androscoggin County plus $33,941.55 for dispatch services. The taxes for the town in Franklin County would be about the same, according to information provided by the town.

Franklin County Sheriff’s Department currently does not charge for dispatch services to its towns.

Franklin County’s jail is a 72-hour holding facility while Androscoggin County is full-service. Franklin County has had its request to get its full-service jail back denied at the state level. Taxpayers in the county raise $1.6 million for the jail and end up sending about $600,000 to the state to help run other jails. County officials are still fighting for the jail. The holding facility means that if someone is arrested and cannot make bail, they could be taken to another jail an hour or two away that has an open bed.

Androscoggin County Sheriff Guy Desjardins recently told the state Board of Corrections that he would have to make changes to the Auburn jail, including reducing staff and services to towns, if the state does not provide the funding needed to operate the jail safely and securely. Inmates at that jail are most likely to stay there prior to conviction, if they don’t make bail.

There are differences in Medicare supplement programs and premiums between the counties. More information is available at www.q1medicare.com.

Androscoggin and Franklin counties are grouped together under the Affordable Care Act for health insurance, Flagg previously said.

Homeowners insurance is based on how far a home is from a hydrant, conditions of the home and other factors, but not by county, she said.

Auto insurance policies also differ between counties but other variables are factored in, including distance to work, credit scores, driving record and coverage plan.

The two counties are in several state districts together such as the District Attorney Prosecutorial District Three, Maine State Housing Authority and Maine Department of Health and Human Service districts.

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