FARMINGTON — The Franklin County Sheriff’s Office was recognized Tuesday for traveling 268,000 miles last year without an accident.

The Maine County Commissioners Association’s 2016 Safe Driving Award was presented by risk pool manager Malcolm Ulmer during a Franklin County Commission meeting.

Ulmer called the award “very impressive and something you should be proud of.” He presented a check to County Treasurer Pam Prodan for $2,500 to accompany the award.

The Sheriff’s Office has received the Safe Driving Award multiple times over the years.

The risk pool, which is technically not insurance, was started in the fall of 1989 in an effort to guarantee coverage regardless of losses, stabilize costs, retain immunity protections under the Maine Tort Claim Act when applicable, and save money over the long haul, Ulmer said.

In other business, commissioners voted to accept a $20,959 bid from Northern Pride Communications of Topsham to upgrade guy wires and reinforce the legs on the county’s 190-foot communications tower on Mosher Hill in Farmington.

The company submitted the low bid of two received by the county. The other bid was for $50,277 from Allstate Tower of Henderson, Kentucky.

The Regional Communications Center is in the process of improving communications throughout Franklin County.

About $11,000 was carried over from the 2016-17 communications budget for the project. The other half will be covered by funds from a tax-increment financing agreement that targets the unorganized territory.

The guy wires and leg re-enforcement of the tower could begin, depending on the weather, in early December, Communications Director Stan Wheeler said. There is an eight-week delay to get the reinforcing metal, he said.

Commissioners also agreed to hold a Spirit of America Award Ceremony on Nov. 7 during a regular meeting. The meeting will begin at 9 a.m. in the Commissioners’ Office at the Franklin County Courthouse on Main Street in Farmington.

“This was probably one of the best things we did,” said Waldo County Commissioner Amy Fowler, a director of the Spirit of America Foundation, which honors volunteerism.

“It costs nothing,” Fowler told Franklin County commissioners. “It recognizes good deeds and actions within the county.” 

The award recognizes people who would “never, ever” ask for recognition, she said.

“I am proud to be a member and advocate of it,” she said.

At the Waldo County level, they hold an informal award ceremony at the Lions Club and give out certificates to award winners.

Among recipients in her county were two girls, 9 and 11, who basically saved their father’s life when he had a massive stroke, she said.

Last year, 12 of 16 counties in Maine hosted their own ceremonies, said Bruce Flaherty, another foundation director.

All but two counties held the ceremony during a regular commission meeting, he said.

In other business, commissioners voted to hire Acme Land Surveying of Farmington for up to $1,200 to survey a snowplow turnaround easement being given to the county on Buzzell Road in Madrid Township. The money will come from the Unorganized Territory budget.

Following an executive session, commissioners voted to enter into an agreement with Greater Franklin Development Council of Farmington for TIF administration services for $10,000 annually, prorated for the current fiscal year for $7,500, County Clerk Julie Magoon said.

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Malcolm Ulmer, right, risk pool manager for the Maine County Commissioners Association recognized the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office on Tuesday with the 2016 Safe Driving Award for driving 268,000 miles last year without an accident. With Ulmer are Sheriff Scott Nichols Sr., left, and County Treasurer Pamela Prodan, center, who accepted the $2,500 check that accompanied the award.

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