FARMINGTON – The Franklin County Commissioners elected the chair for the upcoming year by a coin toss.
Commissioner Terry Brann has served as the chair of the board for four years and was willing to continue in that role. Commissioner Bob Carlton felt it was time to give Brann a break. Commissioner Lance Harvell indicated he did not want to take the role but did not have strong feelings on who should fill the seat, so the issue was resolved by a coin toss, with Brann winning the seat.
American Rescue Plan Act grant coordinator Sue Pratt asked the commissioners for guidance on new ARPA applications. The commissioners had previously said they would not award new applications for grant funding until they had an idea of the cost of a proposed new county office building at County Way. Pratt had four new applications and asked for guidance on how to move forward with these applicants.
The commissioners agreed to a quarterly review of new applications with no promise that grant funds would be awarded. They will continue to work on a proposal for new county offices.
ARPA funds cannot be used on a new building, but can be used on an addition to an existing structure. A new office could potentially be attached to the dispatch center at County Way and provide new space for the sheriff’s office, Emergency Management, and other county departments. In addition, Bernard noted that when they increase to a board of five commissioners, they will need a suitable meeting space.
Two new hybrid police cruisers were available for purchase at Darlings in Bangor, completing the bundle of four hybrid cruisers purchased out of previously allocated ARPA funds. The commissioners approved the purchase of both cruisers at $49,926 each.
The commissioners reviewed a proposed change for Medicare insurance. Employees who become eligible for Medicare would like the option of shopping available plans and having the county apply their benefit dollars towards the premiums. There was no extra cost anticipated for the county. County Administrator Amy Bernard asked for direction from the board so they can develop an updated policy to present in a couple weeks, and the board agreed to move forward with the proposal.
Commissioners opened four bids for the Unorganized Territories banking accounts. Skowhegan, Androscoggin, Franklin, and Bangor banks each submitted bids. Brann made a motion for Bernard to work with other personnel to review the bids and make sure they all met the criteria the county requested.
Following the meeting, the commissioners went into executive session for the county administrator review.