FARMINGTON — Franklin County commissioners voted Tuesday to confirm that the Schoolhouse Road Bridge in Madrid Township is not owned by the county.

Prior to the vote, Madrid Township resident Johanna Richmond said the bridge, which is significantly deteriorated and unsafe, is a county bridge and she has paperwork that shows that the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency did work on the bridge in 1998. She has information from the former Maine Land Use Regulation Commission, now known as Land Use Planning Commission, she said. She also claimed the county did work on the bridge.

County Administrator Amy Bernard said she has looked through all of the town reports from 1918 to prior to Madrid deorganizing from a town to become a township in 2000 and could not find where voters adopted the bridge.

Bernard said the bridge does not have a Maine Department of Transportation number on it, which was confirmed by Maine Local Roads Director Pete McLaughlin.

“The bridge on Schoolhouse Road is not a county bridge,” she said, and never has been.

County Road Supervisor Mike Pond said the state has no records on the bridge, and it has not been inspected by the state like other bridges.


The county owns 211 feet of the road, which stops before the bridge, Pond said.

Commissioners agreed in October 2021 for safety purposes, according to a story in the Sun Journal, to replace the deck with new running planks and one bridge mat. Once the work was done, commissioners planned to turn the bridge over to residents to maintain. That work was never done.

According to the information Bernard has, a state unorganized territory administrator agreed that the bridge was on the town of Madrid’s deorganizational plan, but her predecessor noted there was a bridge on the plan that was not the town’s, Bernard said.

Jeffrey Wing, a former Madrid selectman, said the bridge was on town property prior to the deorganization.

If a town wants to accept a bridge it has to go before voters, Bernard said. She could not find in the town reports where that had happened, she said.

In other business, commissioners voted unanimously to adopt option one for a mission statement for the county.  The Strategic Planning Committee met in July and August and again Aug. 30 to review information from the three meetings. Participants identified commonalities and trends in what the department heads shared and compiled a list, which was put into three statement options.

The mission statement adopted is: “Franklin County is committed to providing quality public service in a transparent and collaborative manner that is fiscally responsible, efficient, and responsive in that and adaptive to the needs of the Franklin County Community.”

Former state Rep. Thomas Skolfield of Weld approached commissioners last year before his term expired and on behalf of his constituents who wanted the county to adopt a strategic plan. Skolfield and Susan Pratt of Strong, the county’s program manager for America Recovery Plan Act funds, are on the committee, which includes county employees.

The county plans to seek a facilitator to promote this mission countywide and to develop goals.

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