Commissioners discuss economic development needs

4 mins read

FARMINGTON – The Franklin County Commissioners reviewed a year-end report from the Greater Franklin Economic and Community Development Council during their meeting on Tuesday. 

Currently, 30% of the population in Franklin County is over the age of 60, Charlie Woodworth, the council’s executive director said, adding that this places a strain on the school districts, the healthcare system, and the labor pool. Woodworth asked the commissioners what they considered the biggest challenges in the community. 

Commissioner Terry Brann identified jobs as a high priority; providing jobs would help retain the current younger population. 

Commissioner Bob Carlton said workforce housing remained a top priority, as employees cannot find places to live, but noted that the needs vary between Northern Franklin and Southern Franklin. 

Commissioner Lance Harvell said there was a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) course offered locally at the high school, but despite the training program, one of the assisted living centers in Farmington offered jobs for CNAs with relatively substantial sign-on bonuses and seemed to struggle to fill the positions.

Carlton asked for information on the broadband project and the child care project that Greater Franklin has been working on. Woodworth reported that as of the end of 2022, 11,000 addresses across 9 towns in Franklin County now have access to fiber broadband. They are continuing to work on getting broadband access to the rest of the county. 

Child care remains a huge issue, Woodworth said, with spaces available for 50% of the children ages 0-5. Addressing this issue will take time, but he is confident that solutions can be found locally. 

In other business, the board reviewed two changes to the personnel policy. The first would allow employees who are eligible for Medicare to waive enrollment in the county’s insurance plans and receive 100% of the full-time employee benefits, unless otherwise agreed on, applied towards a Medicare supplemental plan. The employee would be required to show proof of insurance, and payments would be made directly to the insurance carrier. The commissioners voted two to one to change this policy.

The second proposed change to the personnel policy was for the inclement weather policy. Previously the policy allowed for employees to take an unpaid day if they elected to stay home or to leave work early, or if the county offices were closed due to inclement weather or hazardous conditions. The change would allow employees to take an unpaid day, use benefit time, work from home if possible, or ‘flex’ their hours to make up for the missed time. The commissioners voted, two to one, to change the inclement weather policy.

The next meeting will be held on Tuesday, January 31 at 3:15 p.m., and the commissioners will decide then on the meeting schedule for February, taking into consideration the school vacation.


This meeting was recorded by Mt. Blue TV and is available for viewing online at

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