Selectmen weigh options for road repair funding

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KINGFIELD — Selectmen anticipate offering voters several options for funding road repairs, but deciding how much work to do and how much to pay over what period of time will be a challenge.

At their Monday night meeting, Administrative Assistant Leanna Targett presented an overview of the process to borrow from the Maine Bond Bank. The interest rate on a $1 million loan over 10 years would be 2.7 percent; a 20-year loan would be 2.5 percent.

Selectmen had considered borrowing $1 million to rebuild the Tufts Pond Road in 2019. That project hopefully would coincide with the Maine Department of Transportation’s schedule for repaving Route 27 through town.

Voters might agree to borrow more to repave other roads that will need attention soon, but that would raise taxes.

Selectmen can take the road funding proposal to the Budget Committee, which can approve, reject or revise the plan before it goes to voters.

In other business, Charlie Woodworth, executive director of the Franklin County Economic Development Council, gave an update on providing 22 towns with high-speed internet access. He said he met with the secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture and has received support through other state and national agencies for broadband implementation. He also noted that Franklin County commissioners were the only county commissioners in the state who refused to contribute funds to support their local council.

“For example, our neighbors in Somerset County send a check for $125,000 to support their economic development office,” Woodworth said.

Piscataquis County pays $126,000 and Oxford County contributes $130,000 for economic development, he said.

Woodworth has raised $40,000 and has asked for a matching $40,000 from county commissioners, but he has been turned down.

“If there are any questions, I’d be happy to delve into the details,” he said.

Selectmen agreed unanimously to send a letter to commissioners, asking them to invest in the Franklin County council’s efforts.

In other matters, selectmen approved a contract with Dead River for service and fuel oil for the winter. Wilber Heating and Plumbing in Madrid Township could service the town’s heating systems but doesn’t sell fuel. Bob’s Cash Fuel in Madison would supply the heating oil but wouldn’t service the systems.

Selectmen appointed retired Regional School Unit 58 teacher and former school board member Judy Dill to the remaining seven months of Johanna Prince’s term. Prince was recently hired as Kingfield Elementary School principal.

Residents will elect a new board member in June.

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