FARMINGTON — Selectmen were given updates from Public Works at the Nov. 14 meeting.

“We should be expecting some checks in January,” Leia Durrell, Public Works administrative assistant, said. “One was for $53,801.70. The state reached out to us the other day saying they are going to start to process in January.”

During an update to the board on Aug. 22, Durrell said the town was claiming $75,225 for the December storm: $10,500 for tree removal, $64,725 for infrastructure on roads. The May storm estimate then was $162,955, was expected to go up, while the June storm [which also hit Jay] had damages estimated at $28,475, she said. A small portion of Webster Road washed out in that storm, she stated then.

On Nov. 14 Durrell said she just completed the May storm project and the town’s Federal Emergency Management Agency [FEMA] representative was checking the numbers, making sure nothing was missed.

“After that’s all done, hopefully in a couple of weeks, then we can start working on the June storm,” she stated.

Upwards of $175,000 is expected back from the May storm, Durrell said. The federal share is 75%, our share is 25%, she explained.


“A total of three declarations is a lot,” Public Works Director Phil Hutchins stated. “It’s unheard of. “I have dealt with one in eight years of being here, back in 2020. All of a sudden three were thrown in our lap all at once.”

Farmington roads suffered storm damages outside of those with FEMA declarations, he noted. “We had some flash storms,” he said. “Porter Hill we had to address that. It pretty much washed out.”

The Town Farm Road had to be put back in place with support of Maine Department of Transportation which maintains the road, Hutchins noted. Clover Mill Road sustained some damage as well, he said.

“It was a very tough season,” he stated.

Selectman Stephan Bunker asked about the experiences of working with FEMA on mitigation issues.

Each storm is different, requires different questions be answered, Durrell replied.


“It’s providing the same documents repetitively,” Hutchins said. “It’s dragged on. It seems every declaration they tweak the process so it’s a learning curve every time you tackle a declaration.”

The state agency, not FEMA issues the checks, he noted.

“We are not the only town, other towns have had substantial problems,” Selectman Dennis O’Neil said. “They are probably inundated.”

In other Public Works updates, Hutchins said after three years the High Street reconstruction project is 99.8% complete. He hasn’t heard a lot of feedback on the current raised crosswalk, wants to know if it’s too aggressive, if changes need to be made.

A few people have commented on the “nice jump there,” Selectman Joshua Bell said. He spoke about differences between the two crosswalks on Front Street, wondered if it was because of the sidewalks.

Hutchins said they aren’t speed tables, are considered traffic calming devices. “The first and foremost factor they look at is the actual pedestrian crosswalk itself,” he noted. “That has to be completely flat due to ADA standards. Northbound there is a little bit more of a transition than coming southbound.”


If drivers are following the speed limit, everything is fine but anything over that it is noticed, he added.

O’Neil asked about a second crosswalk further down towards Ron’s Market.

“That is going to have to be pushed to this coming year due to budgeting,” Hutchins replied. “We have experienced a lot of unforeseen events due to Mother Nature.”

When asked about lights, Hutchins said one pedestal on Academy Hill Street will be set back five feet to provide more visibility looking down towards the college. Once the new lights go live, an audit will be done to see which lights can be eliminated, he stated.

“We don’t want to overpay for something we don’t need,” he noted.

Mosher Hill, Ramsdell and Savage roads plus Christian and Sewall drives were paved this year, Hutchins indicated. Public Works has started shoulder work on roads from next year’s plan to get ahead of the paving schedule, he noted. Bailey Hill, Weeks Mills and Davis roads will be paved next year, he stated.

At the next board meeting will be the paving bid opening. “We got some really good prices this year,” Hutchins said.

Road construction of more than $100,000 requires an engineer, sometimes it doesn’t pay to go with the lowest bid, Hutchins stated. A mitigation plan should be included in the contract to hold them accountable, he noted.

Bell suggested having the town attorney review the bid packet and all bid packets to cover the town so it’s not footing the bill.

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