The County’s Budget Advisory Committee is made up of two municipal officials and one public representative from each of the three County Districts. State law requires the County to hold caucuses for the purpose of electing municipal official and public representatives to fill vacancies. The BAC members serve three year terms and are elected by only those municipal officials who attend the annual BAC Caucuses.
The County is required by the State to hold a caucus for each of the three County Districts no later than February 15th. In Sagadahoc County, the three Districts caucus simultaneously in a brief and informal event that customarily occurs the first week in February. At the caucuses, municipal officials meet, by District, to nominate and elect municipal officials and/or public representatives to fill vacancy(ies) in their District. The process normally takes about a half an hour. Commissioners attend their District’s caucus but do not vote.
If the proposed County budget exceeds the County’s statutory LD 1 growth cap, the BAC has approval authority over the budget. The prospect that Sagadahoc County will exceed its LD 1 growth cap is very slim since frugal budgeting over a span of many years has put Sagadahoc County in the unique position of having a budget that falls more than two million ($2,000,000) dollars below its LD 1 cap. However, if the LD 1 cap is breached, the BAC’s approved budget may be changed only by a unanimous vote of the Board of Commissioners. While the official “who gets to approve what” appears to be adversarial, in practice, the process is not. Over the years, the perspectives and decisions of the Board and BAC have become increasingly congruent. Each group brings to the process insight and questions that challenge management to continually search for more effective and less costly ways to provide quality services.