FARMINGTON — The Board of Selectmen voted during the Nov. 23 meeting to proceed with the Bangor Savings Bank Timekeeping and Accrual Tracking System proposal from treasurer LucyAnn Cook. The town already uses Bangor Savings Bank for payroll, and this system is an additional integration that provides scheduling, time cards, and accrual tracking. These features are accessible through a mobile app.
Cook told the board that she spoke with department heads about the proposed changes. Police Chief Ken Charles and Deputy Chief Shane Cote were interested in the scheduling feature, as well as the integration between scheduling and payroll. Currently, Cote may spend as much as eight hours per pay period running payroll, and additional time on scheduling. Because of the complications with shifts at the police department, there is a higher margin for potential error in calculating time and pay. The integration between scheduling and payroll is expected to streamline the process. At the fire department, scheduling can take as much as eight hours every month to fill shifts. With the addition to the system, firefighters would be able to black-out days that they are not available to work shifts, allowing the department to see at a glance who is available when and what gaps they have to fill.
There is an initial set-up cost, around $1,500, to integrate the program and customize it for the town’s departments. There is an additional monthly cost which varies depending on the number of employees; the contract is at-will, allowing the town to drop the service if they should choose to do so. A previous estimate for a year was around $9,000, but Cook anticipates the cost may be lower. Cook also said that the transition period would not be as long as previous transitions between payroll programs, because they are already an established client with Bangor Savings Bank.
The board members present voted unanimously to move forward with the program. Stephan Bunker ran the meeting in the absence of Chairman Matthew Smith; Michael Fogg and Scott Landry were present, and Joshua Bell was absent.
The board also approved an expenditure of $4,800 for Casco Bay Advisors to perform a study on broadband and internet services in the town. The conversation about accessible, affordable, and reliable broadband is happening in communities across the state, and at the state level; performing the study will allow the town to have informed conversations with service providers and with neighboring communities and the region as a whole. American Rescue Plan Act funds could be used for broadband initiatives, and the board agreed to spend the $4,800 from ARPA funds.
A conversation has been started between Maine Department of Transportation and the town of Farmington about the possibility of re-striping the lanes on Route 2/Wilton Road. MDOT is proposing a change from two travel lanes in each direction to one travel lane in each direction and turning lanes. When a similar proposal was made several years ago, the town’s citizens were concerned and opposed to the change; the select board agreed to review the proposal in an upcoming meeting.
The board agreed to send a letter of support for the Rail Trail Bridge project. The High Peaks Alliance has been working on finding grant funds to help with the cost of the project and asked the town if they would contribute. ARPA funds could be used for the project, as it supports tourism, economic development, mental health, and physical health development. The board was not in a position to commit funds at this time but agreed that a letter of support, which could be helpful for federal and state grant funding, would be appropriate.
Matt Foster, the director of the Parks and Recreation department, asked the board to accept a check for $100,000 from Judith Bjorn. The donation was given to the rec department to be used for programming needs. Foster asked that the board put the funds in an escrow account until plans could be developed for utilizing it. The board agreed to accept the funds and extended their thanks to Judith and the Bjorn family; over the years they have invested heavily in Farmington, particularly the recreation department, and the town is grateful for their support.