FARMINGTON — Franklin County commissioners voted Tuesday to give a $10,000 grant to Western Maine Community Action of Wilton for its opioid abuse disorder program to buy harm-reduction items not currently available in its program.

The agency’s Family and Health Services Department requested a $30,000 grant from the county’s allotment of an opioid  settlement. The county’s Opioid Advisory Committee reviewed the grant application and voted to give $10,000 on Feb. 14, according to county Administrator Amy Bernard.

The applications must support one or more of the following goals: prevention, treatment, harm reduction and recovery, and must support work in Franklin County.

Commissioners approved Bernard’s request to form an Opioid Advisory Committee in February 2023 to review applications for education and opioid addiction treatment programs financed from settlements reached with drug companies.

The county anticipates receiving $777,000 over the next 18 years from the Johnson & Johnson pharmaceutical settlement, Bernard said last year. Money from other settlements is expected. The committee is up to nine members.

Maine Attorney General Aaron Frey announced in January 2022 that he had reached an agreement with litigating cities, counties and school districts governing Maine’s use of proceeds from the National Opioid Settlements with distributors Cardinal, McKesson, and Amerisource Bergen, and opioid manufacturers Johnson & Johnson.


The agreement completes Maine’s acceptance of a settlement that was initially agreed to by Frey in August 2021. The settlement is estimated to bring as much as $130 million to Maine over 18 years to support state and local efforts to address the opioid epidemic, according to information on the Office of the Attorney General’s website.

Commissioners voted in November 2023 to give $10,000 from an opioid settlement to Kennebec Behavioral Health to pay for two drug addiction recovery coaches for Franklin County and gas cards related to recovery. The service has an office in Farmington.

In other business, commissioners will hold the 2024-25 budget discussions at 1 p.m. Tuesday upstairs at the Franklin County Courthouse. Commissioners will go through each budget from departments.

Susan Pratt, the county’s American Rescue Plan Act program administrator, and commission Chairman Lance Harvell of Farmington will attend the Farmington Planning Board meeting at 6:30 p.m. Monday, downstairs at the Town Office. The meeting is expected to take up the site plan review application to build a new emergency operations building on County Way in Farmington where the jail, sheriff’s office and regional communications center are located.

With the new building and alternate add-on space, the space would be an estimated 8,700 square feet. Bernard said she heard from the office of U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, that the estimated $2 million in anticipated congressional designated funds is in an extended spending bill. They could hear by the end of the week or next if the money is approved.

The county has set aside about $1.67 million in ARPA funds for the project. The building would hold the Sheriff’s Office, the Emergency Management Agency office, and information technology department. It would also have a meeting room for commissioners, who now meet in the Superior Courtroom at the county courthouse.

Bernard announced that Farmington Police Sgt. Jesse Clement will begin work for the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office on Monday. He will fill the last open deputy position.

Mike Pond, the county road supervisor, has announced his intent to retire on June 30.

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