November 5, 2013

Livermore Falls voters reject move to Franklin County

Move from Androscoggin County to closer county seats fails by six votes.

Staff Report

LIVERMORE FALLS — Voters rejected the town’s move to Franklin County from Androscoggin County by a slim margin, 263-257, Tuesday night in a referendum vote.

Livermore Falls was cleared in September by Androscoggin County commissioners to hold the vote after the board determined that the town did not have any outstanding debt for county projects or services for which it would have to pay the county before leaving.

The only money matter about which county officials were uncertain was the effect the potential switch would have on the county jail.

In June, the Legislature approved a bill allowing residents to vote on whether the town would be allowed to switch counties.

Livermore Falls, which borders Franklin County, is about 15 miles closer to Farmington, the Franklin County seat, than it is to the Androscoggin County seat of Auburn.

Bill sponsor Rep. Gary Knight, R-Livermore Falls, said this difference is costly to the entire town, but particularly to the Police Department, which would save time and money by making court appearances at the Franklin County Courthouse and sending inmates to the Franklin County Jail.

He also said the town would provide $250,000 in taxes to Franklin County and has stronger ties to its northern neighbor because of connections with jobs, ambulance services, disaster-response teams, health care, social services, education, and cultural and economic development programs.

The town of Leeds in Androscoggin County had submitted a letter to the Legislature urging it to not pass the bill. Officials said in the letter that without Livermore Falls as part of the county’s tax base, the taxes of other towns in Androscoggin County would increase.

A third vote on a proposed administration budget was also rejected, 263-257. The $197,861 budget is over $32,000 more than last year’s budget.

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