This story has been updated to more accurately reflect information provided.
FARMINGTON – Among completing some of the logistical tasks necessary in preparing for the upcoming official town meeting by referendum, the Board of Selectmen also approved a new COVID-19 pandemic policy for town employees.
“The town already has a pandemic policy, but this one is just more specific to right now. Hopefully we won’t need it in place much longer,” said Town Manager Richard Davis.
The new policy, which was unanimously approved, includes CDC guidelines on travel, workplace measures and social restrictions for employees of the municipality.
“We encourage everyone to get the vaccine, but we don’t require it,” said Davis.
Members of the Downtown Association attended the meeting, proposing a recommendation regarding expenditures from the town’s TIF fund. Their request was pertaining to a new part time position for digital marketing to assist in updating the town’s website and social media sites. The salary for this position would be approximately $5,000 per year, and the Association requested that half of that be covered by the TIF fund.
The board unanimously approved it, moving to the second order of business concerning the TIF fund, involving an allocation of $150,000 to the completion of the construction project on High Street.
According to Davis, the town did not spend the remaining funds from the TIF in the previous year, leaving more flexibility with a larger expenditure for the coming year. The board approved it, despite the cost. Construction is scaled to begin in the summer, beginning to install new lights along the road as well as new sidewalks.
Board Chairman Matthew Smith applied for a marijuana business license to begin selling CBD out of his home, and was approved, though this initial agreement led to a further discussion on the proposed ordinance for all applicants of business and recreation marijuana sales. Per the board’s request during their last meeting, Code Enforcement and Planning Board Department Head, J. Stevens Kaiser, drafted a new amendment to the existing ordinance.
“This was to address how to ensure people are paying their fees,” said Davis. “We have several applicants with outstanding fees, who have had them outstanding for quite some time.”
The new amendment includes a 30-day conditional approval for licenses, requiring that any new applicant pay their required fees within that time limit or their license is revoked.
“I think this will be something we have to revisit as the industry evolves. This amendment is one of many,” said Smith.
Davis requested and gained approval for a special town meeting on May 11 to vote on the proposed amendment. In addition, the meeting will open a discussion regarding a solar project which would reduce the town’s electrical costs by 75 percent. The solar project is a 20-year agreement, which Lisbon has also signed on to incorporate.
The next Board of Selectmen meeting will be held on April 13 at 6:30 p.m. at the Community Center and will include a public hearing regarding the town meeting by referendum. This public hearing will allow the public to educate themselves on the warrants and ask selectmen specific questions. Community members are encouraged to attend.