FARMINGTON — Selectmen Tuesday night, April 11, unanimously voted to reject a $14,000 Efficiency Maine grant that would have helped fund an EV charging station downtown.

At the March 14 meeting, a request for nearly $26,000 for the station failed to win approval from selectmen because they weren’t sure if funding had already been approved and there could be other grants to pay for the rest of it. Former Town Manager Christian Waller had signed a contract to have the station installed in the municipal parking lot that is entered from Main and Broadway streets and exited onto High Street.

Two weeks later, the decision was tabled so the Downtown TIF Committee could meet and consider the project. Funds from the Downtown TIF [Tax Increment Financing] account were proposed for financing, but the committee had never been approached about the project.

The Downtown TIF Committee unanimously recommended the town not accept the grant to install EV charging stations, Interim Town Manager Cornell Knight said. The equipment had been shipped to Farmington, was refused and sent back, he noted.

Selectman Dennis O’Neil asked about the committee’s reasons for their decision.

The location didn’t feel like a good place to put them, snow is currently plowed in that direction and the possibility of other locations were the main reasons, Selectman Joshua Bell, who also serves on the committee, replied. The water department [located next to the parking lot on High Street] started this process when employees asked about having one installed, has come full circle after it became blown up, he noted.


In other business, the Select Board, by consensus, approved Knight’s continuation in that role while he is away on a vacation planned before he was hired. Knight said he would be back mid-May, could log onto his laptop remotely while out of state, had a process in place for completing purchase orders, would have voice mail, internet access and could be available by Zoom if needed. “I can check in daily while I am gone,” he noted.

Chairman Matthew Smith said selectmen didn’t have anything major on the horizon.

When asked about potential pay changes, Knight said he is only paid for the time he spends working for Farmington, which would probably be an hour per day while he works remotely.

The board is in the middle of the search process for the next town manager.

“I would enjoy the continuity,” Selectman Stephan Bunker stated.

Patty Haggan, president of the Farmington Downtown Association shared that a handicapped accessible portable toilet is being considered downtown. There is $3,000 in the Public Works budget earmarked for downtown beautification, she said. She and Phil Hutchins, Public Works director, had discussed best use of that money.


She obtained a quote from Brackett’s Pumping while Hutchins got ones from Orr’s Septic & Toilet Rentals for handicapped and regular toilets, Haggan said. Orr’s was a bit cheaper, the association supports the accessible one being placed in the parking lot [on the other side near the two dumpsters and the trail leading to the Henderson Memorial Church parking lot], she noted.

The toilet would be in the lot for a five month period from June 1 to the end of October, at a cost of $225 per month or $1,125 out of the beautification budget, Haggan said. It benefits the businesses downtown with the influx of tourist traffic and bus tours, would be an option for businesses that don’t offer public restrooms, she noted.

O’Neil asked if signage would be needed to inform people.

Information could be posted on the website, businesses downtown could put it out, Haggan replied.

“It’s long overdue,” Smith said.

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