ELLSWORTH — Hancock County Sheriff Scott Kane presented a proposed $1.9-million budget for FY 2017 to the Budget Advisory Committee at its meeting on Oct. 12.
That represents a 5.9 percent, or $109,989, increase over this year’s budget of $1.6 million.
Kane explained that part of the increase is in personnel costs. Detective Stephen McFarland’s position, which for several years has been funded by the District Attorney’s Office, is moving to the sheriff’s payroll.
“There should have been some decreases in the DA’s budget to reflect the increase in this one,” Kane said.
The department needs to replace aging vehicles as well as Tasers, which have a finite lifespan.
The budget also includes $3,000 to purchase a piece of equipment called a “hood,” to protect detectives from caustic chemicals when they process evidence.
“It draws the fumes out, it cleanses them, so there’s no danger to our detectives,” Kane said. “This is a safety issue for our detectives.”
The sheriff had discussed with the committee the possibility of adding an IT person to handle a database, called Spillman. The Sheriff’s Office as well as police departments in Hancock County and most statewide agencies use the Spillman database to manage information.
The information includes mapping, such as for an accident scene or the location of an officer as well as names of people who have had interactions with the Sheriff’s Office.
The IT person would benefit more those towns with their own police departments who are using the Spillman system and would benefit from the IT person’s knowledge of it.
The IT position would add roughly $50,000 to the Sheriff’s Office’s budget.
However, on Tuesday Kane said he was dropping the Spillman idea for this year.
Kane said he would take a group of Spillman users and put together a “fair and equitable way to fund it in another year.”
One Budget Advisory Committee member, Blue Hill Selectman Jim Schatz, said he supports the IT position but thinks it should not be funded solely at county taxpayer expense.
“Why should county taxpayers pay for this when it’s going to benefit specific towns?” Schatz asked.