FARMINGTON – At the Farmington selectmen’s meeting on Tuesday night, members were officially informed of the Town Manager Richard Davis’ upcoming retirement.
“I told you I’d give you my six months and here it is. The town of Farmington has been good to me, but it’s time. It’s been a great place to work, and I feel lucky,” said Davis.
His final day as town manager will be Aug. 27, marking 20 years of service to the town. The board will begin searching for a replacement in May.
Police Chief Ken Charles attended the selectmen’s meeting for the first time as official chief to welcome the newest patrol officer, Chrisoph Muttschin, as well as to update the board on other changes in the department. The new patrolman is originally from Germany and applied to the open position in Farmington partially because of Maine’s acceptance of employees with Green Cards. He spent most of his life in northern New Jersey, where the type of community here in Farmington is nowhere to be found.
“Here’s a prime example of what we want to market as we’re pushing our recruiting efforts. We want to bring in some good talent, and I think the best way to do that is to sell the professionalism of the department, but also the quality of life of Farmington,” said Chief Charles.
These recruiting efforts will be addressing the detective and patrolmen positions that were open upon Charles’ arrival as new chief, but as of last week, there will be another gap in the department to fill. Sgt. Michael Lyman, who’s been a supervisor in the department for seven years, will also be leaving.
“He took a position at Somerset County Sheriff’s Department. It’s a good opportunity for him with his family and some business opportunities for them to engage him. We’re sad to see him go. He’s provided some mentorship and been a great help to the town,” Charles said.
Lyman’s final working day was last Friday. The department has posted the position in-house, but if there is no interest, they will extend it to further parties.
“We’ve had some informal communication with some prior academy graduates, so that’s good news. We’ll see how quickly we can fill those positions,” Charles added.
Selectmen also approved the amendment to the town’s purchasing policy, increasing the limit from $5,000 to $10,000. This will allow the town more flexibility in acquiring local contractors for town improvement projects.
One such improvement project which the board had discussed in earlier meetings is the rehabilitation project of High Street this summer, which will include new sidewalks and the installation of more streetlights. Initially, the University of Maine at Farmington had been in conversation with the board to support this measure financially, as it would mostly benefit their student population who makes up a large percentage of the foot traffic on High Street at night.
Once Davis acquired the estimate of $93,000 without labor for the project, UMF withdrew their support. Since the money for this project would be coming from the town’s Tax Increment Financing fund, which currently holds only $49,000, this would require an additional allocation of funds during the tax season. Davis will be holding a meeting with the TIF Fund Advisory Committee on March 10 to further discuss this.
New improvements will be coming to the Farmington Recreation Department, courtesy of an approved donation of $4,700 from the Franklin County Chamber of Commerce to put towards a new fence and other unnamed features.