FARMINGTON — A proposed natural gas line from Jay to Farmington and Livermore Falls has been delayed, Town Manager Richard Davis told the Board of Selectmen on Tuesday.

“The latest news from Summit Natural Gas is that they will not be coming until at least 2016,” he said.

A more detailed time frame for the line is expected by the end of October.

This could delay the Maine Department of Transportation’s Wilton Road project until 2017, he said.

After a discussion of options supplied by MDOT, the board agreed to hold off state work on the road, which means the town is responsible for patching it until then.

Because the Wilton Road is in an urban compact zone, the town is responsible for routine maintenance, he said.

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The town crew was patching nearly every day this spring. The Public Works Department has spent about $21,000 on the road so far this year, he said.

Davis said he asked MDOT about doing crack sealing and spot rehab, mainly between Hannaford Drive and Center Bridge, where the worst road damage is located. The heavy volume of traffic makes it difficult to get patch to stick, Davis said.

Mark Hume of MDOT requested the board consider two options: have the state department go ahead and pave in 2016 and deal with any work needed after gas lines are installed; wait until the gas line work is completed, which leaves maintenance of the road up to the town while waiting for the gas line.

The latter option could cost the town more now, but the first option could mean more costs for the town later on, Hume said.

Normally, MDOT holds a five-year moratorium on any road digging after it completes a project, Davis said.

The town will need to budget more money for patching until the Wilton Road project is completed, he said.

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Davis said there seems to be several factors involved in the delay of the gas line, which was previously anticipated for 2014. Along with waiting for the University of Maine at Farmington to come on board as an anchor customer, the company is dealing with other projects. There are also questions surrounding demand and supply for natural gas and a snag with interconnecting with the gas line in Jay, he said.

There is no guarantee the company won’t postpone installation of the line again,  maybe 2018, Selectman Joshua Bell said.

Summit also needs to find potential customers along with the larger users, Franklin Memorial Hospital and UMF, to ensure the line is feasible.

Considering the options, Selectman Michael Fogg suggested many residents may not want the gas line.

“We need the road and DOT is in line to do it,” he said.

“Gas is a potential for Farmington’s growth,” Selectmen Chairman Ryan Morgan said. “A factory considered moving to Farmington, but decided to go to Oxford because they have gas. I don’t want to hear that again.”

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Lower energy costs may provide more opportunity for economic development, he said.

Morgan indicated some board members have made weekly contact with legislators to urge them to work with Summit Natural Gas.

A small group of legislators and town officials from Farmington, Wilton, Jay and Livermore Falls met in the fall of 2012 to consider bringing a gas line through the towns.

Summit Natural Gas of Colorado was already working on a line in the Augusta area and expressed interest in this project later that year.

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