FARMINGTON — Franklin County commissioners prioritized some of the projects the county’s $5.86 million from the American Rescue Act Program can fund, including an addition to the Franklin County Regional Communications Center.

The addition at 124 County Way would house a majority of county government offices, which is expected to save county taxpayers money.

Commissioners also voted Tuesday to use up to $500,000 in federal funds to buy a new computer-aided dispatch and record-keeping system for county emergency services.

The approval of up to $500,000 for countywide communications will allow county public safety emergency responders to give permission to Information Management Corp. to build a customized CentralSquare Pro system.

The group has been working with an estimated cost of $750,000 to $800,000 for the system. The county’s current program, known better as IMC, is not going away but is not expected to get upgrades in the future.

The county Emergency Management Agency directors have submitted a grant application for about $113,000 to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. They won’t know until the fall if it is approved. Also available is about $127,500 from the county’s tax-increment financing agreement funds for unorganized territory. The towns that use the system will also continue to pay annual maintenance fees of about $90,000 to help offset the cost. The advisory board is also seeking other funding sources.


Also considered is an addition to the jail to house medical and psychological services. Medical professionals are currently working in tight quarters. Design work and engineering is in the works.

Commissioners are waiting to see project cost estimates before committing to other project requests.

There is also a request for new cell block security and controls at the jail. About $290,000 was allocated for it but it may cost more, program Administrator Susan Pratt said.

Requests were removed from the list: Salem Fire Department had requested $154,800 for items including turnout gear, essential worker stipends, security, new doors and running water at the fire station cargo trailer. Requested training records and proof of ownership had not been received as of Tuesday. Lifeline for ME’s request of $602,000 for recovery housing was also removed. The request was only recently submitted, but a representative presented a concept overview to commissioners in the spring.

The county had allocated nearly $1.63 million of the federal funds prior to Tuesday’s meeting.

Commissioners tabled a $1.8 million request from High Peaks Alliance to construct a 336-foot multi-use bridge over Sandy River. The bridge would connect the state-owned Whistle Stop Trail, which is an old railroad bed, to downtown Farmington. The trail runs from Livermore Falls to West Farmington. Executive Director Brent West said he would work to downsize the request to $200,000 to $400,000. The total project is expected to cost $2.75 million. As of July 19, $720,000 is pending or committed.


The bridge could be used by pedestrians or snowmobilers and would be owned by Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands.

It was announced Thursday that U.S. Sen. Susan Collins secured about $2 million in an appropriations bill for the bridge but it still needs to be voted on by the full U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, according to a news release.

Commissioners also tabled a $308, 275 request from the Workforce Housing Coalition: Western Maine Mountains. The organization is in the process of working to become a nonprofit and to build affordable housing for workers in Kingfield, Eustis, Coplin Plantation and Carrabassett Valley. The money from the county would be used as seed money.

The four towns have committed a total of $253,033.64 in American Rescue Plan Act funds to the project, according to the organization’s proposal. Representatives of the coalition said there are jobs in that area but not enough workers. One reason is lack of affordable housing.

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