FARMINGTON — An emergency bill signed by Gov. Janet Mills on Jan. 5, changed the makeup of the three Franklin County Commission districts.

Franklin County Commissioners Lance Harvell of Farmington, left, Chairman Terry Brann of Wilton, center, and Clyde Barker of Strong represent districts that were amended on Jan. 5 by a new law. Sun Journal file photo

District 1 gained townships and plantations in northern Franklin County and exchanged one town for another.

The other two districts had some additions and eliminations as well.

The new districts are in effect until Nov. 5, 2024.  The makeup of the districts will change some again when the five commissioner districts voters approved go into effect on Nov. 5, 2024. Legislators previously said the change was needed to give towns more representation.

Redistricting is constitutionally required every 10 years because the districts need to be divided based on population of the county, Sen. Russell Black, R-Wilton, said. It is the same with state legislative districts, he said.

Legislators had approved a reapportionment plan for updated commissioners districts in September that were similar to the districts laid out under the new apportionment law. Passing of the emergency bill LD 895, An Act Regarding the Apportionment of the Franklin County Commissioners Districts, made the new districts effective immediately.

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The three county districts as finalized in the emergency apportionment bill LD 895 are different from the suggested districts in the law voted on by Franklin County voters in November because the districts need to be within 5% of the ideal district size for population, according to Emily Cook, a spokeswoman for the Maine Secretary of State Office.

When the Legislature passed the county commissioner apportionment in September of 2021, the law included only a plan for three districts, Melissa Packard, state director of elections, wrote in an email.

“Once the Franklin County voters approved the ballot measure to have five districts instead of (three), the Legislature passed an emergency bill that provides for (three) districts until 2024 and (five) districts thereafter,” Packard wrote.

Franklin County residents voted 5,673 to 4,077 in November to increase the three commissioners and districts to five and stagger terms to go into effect in November 2024.

The districts had to align as closely as possible following redistricting with the districts outlined in the law approved by the Legislature in June, Black said. The state apportionment is based on the 2020 Census.

District 1 and 2 commissioners positions are up for election in November 2024, while District 3 commissioner position is up for election in November 2022 and again in November 2024.

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All districts will be up for election and five commissioners will be elected in November of 2024, Cook said.

Commissioner Terry Brann of Wilton said no one came to talk to him about the change or informed him the change went into effect on Jan. 5.

“I think it is a mess. It is totally unnecessary,” Brann said.

He represents District 1, which had covered Carthage, Jay, Wilton, Temple, Washington, and Perkins Township.

District 1 now includes of Carthage, Dallas Plantation, Jay, Rangeley Plantation, Sandy River Plantation, Perkins and Washington townships, Weld, and Townships Letter D and E, and Wilton.

District 2 represented by Commissioner Lance Harvell of Farmington, covered Chesterville, Farmington, and New Sharon. Now he no longer represents New Sharon, which was moved to District 3, and instead represents Temple, along with Farmington and Chesterville.

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Commissioner Clyde Barker of Strong had previously represented District 3 that included Avon, Carrabassett Valley, Coplin Plantation, Dallas Plantation, Eustis, Industry, Kingfield, New Vineyard, Phillips, Rangeley Plantation, Rangeley, Sandy River Plantation, Strong, Weld, and unorganized territories of East Central Franklin, North Franklin, West Central Franklin and Wyman Township.

District 3 now consists of the majority of the same area but adds New Sharon and eliminates representation to Dallas Plantation, Rangeley Plantation, Sandy River Plantation,  unorganized territories in West Central Franklin townships of Letter E and D, and Weld.

Cook confirmed the new districts are in effect now.

Beginning on Nov. 5, 2024, the five districts will be:

District 1: Temple and Wilton and Farmington, the portion west of the Sandy River.

District 2: Remaining part of Farmington.

District 3: Avon, Carthage, Coplin Plantation, Eustis, unorganized territories in North Franklin, Phillips, Rangeley, Sandy River Plantation, Perkins and Washington townships, Strong, Weld and unorganized territories of Letter D and E townships.

District 4: Carrabassett Valley, Dallas Plantation unorganized territories in East Central Franklin, Industry, Kingfield, New Sharon, New Vineyard and Wyman Township.

District 5, Chesterville and Jay.


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