Five communities in Oxford County will share more than $86,000 from the state for COVID-19 programs.

The awards, announced last week, range from $930 for Sweden to $68,607 for Oxford.

Denmark, Fryeburg and Paris also got money from the state.

The funds received by 96 towns and cities was part of the $1.25 billion the state was awarded through the federal coronavirus relief bill. The state worked with the Maine Municipal Association and the Maine Mayors Coalition to award the grants.

Communities on the front line in combating the virus had to apply for the grants, detailing how and where the money would be used.

Money could be utilized to support public health programs to fight COVID-19 in three areas — public education, public health support and direct support for businesses. Maine awarded $9 million for those efforts.

Oxford received nearly 80% of the money awarded to the county. Recreation Director Patty Hesse worked with town officials to submit the application that covered several town departments.

The largest amount of the grant will go to the Fire and Rescue Department to provide around-the-clock staffing instead of having the fire station covered overnight by on-call staff, Hesse said.

Funds will also be used to purchase personal protection equipment, such as masks, face shields and gloves, for the Police and Fire Departments, and the town hall and its departments. Money will also be used to purchase cleaning supplies and to support the municipal beach with cleaning bathrooms and playground equipment, among other things.

“The funds are for the safety of the people and the staff to prevent transmission of the coronavirus,” Hesse said.

Since returning from a two-month furlough around June 1 and with the recreation center having turned into a child care facility, Hesse has spent much of her time chasing grants to help the town cope with COVID-19 funding issues. The town is waiting to hear from another grant for fishing and walking trails.

Denmark received $4,535 for its COVID-19 programs. Town Manager Bertrand Kendall said the funds would help with cleaning supplies, signs and purchasing masks, gloves and face shields for the firefighters and first responders at the fire station.

Paris Town Manager Dawn Noyes said she is pleased with receiving $1,368, but said it came too late for its intended purpose — helping to reopen the Town Hall and town services that had closed for the pandemic.

Instead, the town plans to use the money to purchase cleaning supplies and safety equipment such as masks and gloves. Noyes is also looking to add plexiglass at the public library.

The small community of Sweden, with a population of 391 as of the 2010 census, will utilize its $930 for signs and supplies for sanitizing, according to Jenna Domer, the administrative assistant for the Board of Selectmen.

Fryeburg received $11,421 for its COVID-19 programs, the second highest total in Oxford County. Town officials did not return calls seeking information on how the money would be spent.


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.