STATE OF MAINE
Dear County Commissioners and Budget Committee members,
Enclosed please find the District Attorney’s budget request for fiscal year 2009.
As you may know, the Oxford County District Attorney’s office is responsible for adult and juvenile criminal prosecutions in Oxford County Superior Court and the South Paris, Rumford, and Bridgton district courts. The District Attorney and his assistants also prosecute probation violations, civil violations, and contested traffic infractions, as well as appeals to the Maine Supreme Judicial Court (Law Court).
The Oxford County District Attorney's Office prosecutes criminal cases for the Maine State Police, Oxford County Sheriff's Department, Maine Warden Service, Maine Fire Marshal, Maine Drug Enforcement Agency, Maine Forest Service, Bureau of Liquor Enforcement, Animal Welfare Board and local animal control officers, the Department of Probation & Parole (including juvenile caseworkers), and the municipal police departments of Dixfield, Mexico, Rumford, Bethel, Norway, South Paris, Oxford, and Fryeburg.
In 2004, Maine law was changed to eliminate probation as a sentencing alternative for most misdemeanor crimes. In its place, the Legislature created a couple of new sentencing alternatives, which are similar to probation but are administered by the district attorneys’ offices. In 2006, in recognition of the added burden these new laws placed on DAs’ offices, the Legislature enacted a provision which allows us to collect “administrative supervision fees” in these cases. In 2007, approximately 115 defendants were placed on deferred or administrative supervision. Through our office, they paid $24,830 to the county treasury.
In addition, in 2007 our office collected $79,200 in restitution from people convicted of crimes against our fellow citizens. This is money that was returned directly from our office to Oxford County crime victims. In addition, defendants placed on probation with the state Department of Corrections (generally more serious cases) were ordered to pay well over $100,000 in restitution to crime victims through the Probation Department. A couple of years ago we calculated that cases we prosecute resulted in roughly $300,000 in fines paid to the state’s general fund; if anything, that amount has increased.
Turning to the specifics of our budget requests, please note the enclosed memo from the Auburn office regarding our share of the district’s “DA Central” budget. The additional amounts in 4600 and 4800 are for costs associated with our other office equipment; in particular, our very heavily used copier has been showing its age, and may soon be approaching the point where it is cheaper to replace it than to continue with repairs. It has been suggested in the past that in order to maintain fairly level funding, we might want to consider having an ongoing capital appropriation of say, $2,000 per year, with the aim of replacing the copier on a scheduled basis.
The amount in 7300 is for two replacement printers, a fax machine, and a chair to replace my broken chair. Other than that, some costs (particularly “professional fees”) vary widely from year to year – one major case involving extensive expert testimony can result in thousands of dollars in costs. Regarding the other lines, we have attempted to estimate expenses based on the actual spent in 2006, with additions for anticipated inflationary increases.
Thank you for your consideration of this request.
Norman R. Croteau
Line Item #4600 (Repairs/Maintenance) – $9,246
Justware $ 7,871
Line Item #4800 (General Operating Expenses) – $1,740
(4) Symantec Anti-Virus Licenses $ 80
(4) Justware Licenses $ 1,660
Line Item #7300 (Equipment) - $1,400
GRAND TOTAL: $12,386