FARMINGTON — Franklin County commissioners voted 2-1 Tuesday to give $308,275 in federal grant funds to the Western Maine Mountains Workforce Regional Coalition to help fund affordable housing.

Commission Chairman Terry Brann of Wilton opposed the vote because he first wants to know the cost of building an addition to the communications center on County Way that would house some county offices. Commissioners Lance Harvell of Farmington and Bob Carlton of Freeman Township voted in favor.

The $308,275 will come from the county’s $5.86 million allotment of American Rescue Plan Act funds.  The money will come from the first half of the funding received in 2021.

The housing coalition in July was in the process of working to become a nonprofit to build affordable housing for workers in the Carrabassett Valley, Eustis, Coplin Plantation and Kingfield areas. The county’s money 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 previously there are jobs in that area but not enough workers. One reason they cite is a lack of affordable housing.

Dave Cota, town manager of Carrabassett Valley, gave commissioners some information from an executive summary about workforce housing needs the town had commissioned from Camoin Associates based in New York.


There is a strong need for affordable workforce housing, according to the report. Overall there are existing needs between 104 to 312 units for people earning less than $75,000.

This would include between 64 and 192 workforce rental housing units in the Carrabassett Valley area. There is a need for 4o to 120 units of homeowner workforce units and an additional demand for 225 to 338 dormitory style or house-share rooms for seasonal workers, according to the report.

There are 1,100 workers that commute more than 25 miles to year-round or seasonal jobs in the local area.

Local workers are largely priced out of single family house ownership, the report reads.

Home prices have increased 25% to 40% in the  past few years.

“It is a very serious crisis,” Cota said, not just in Franklin County but all around the state.

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