Farmington tables discussion on upgrades to county dispatch system pending further information

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FARMINGTON – The board voted to table a memorandum of understanding with Franklin County with regards to upgrades at the dispatch center, pending further information into the proposal.

Tuesday, January 24, the board met to discuss a short agenda of regular business before continuing with budget discussions. Town Manager Christian Waller and Police Chief Kenneth Charles presented a memorandum of understanding from the county, similar to the MOU presented to other towns in the county. The MOU outlines that Farmington would reimburse the county a total of $24,339 towards upgrades to the public safety and information system at the dispatch center. Of this, there is a total of $17,373 for the one-time ‘set up’ fee for the new program, $6,365 for maintenance of the upgraded system, and $600 allocated towards the subscription fee for the upgraded system.

The system is used for the entirety of the dispatch center operations, including dispatching police, fire, and EMS personnel to calls, processing vehicle registrations, logging records at the jail, and other daily operations. The county is requesting that towns with a municipal law enforcement agency contribute to the cost of the system, based on the number of unit licenses each agency requires.

Selectman Joshua Bell asked why the cost was not factored into the county budget. Selectman Stephan Bunker asked a similar question, noting that the county does not charge Farmington for other county services such as Farmington residents incarcerated at the jail or Farmington residents who use the county probate office.

Charles, along with Fire Chief Timothy Hardy, offered that the county is covering the expense of the dispatch side of the system, and that the cost for Farmington is to have Farmington law enforcement records stored and maintained in the upgraded system. The cost for subscription and maintenance would be paid to the county moving forward, rather than directly to the company providing the program, but the ongoing cost is expected to be similar.

Hardy added that the fire service is researching options for upgrading their record keeping system and that there may be a potential tie-in with the new county system.

The selectboard voted to table the MOU until the next regular board meeting to allow more research into the proposal.

In other business the board confirmed the hire of Tammy Bureau as the new town treasurer. Bureau comes to Farmington with over 25 years experience in municipal and school business, having served 21 years in Lewiston, beginning as a counter clerk and working up to deputy tax collector, deputy treasury manager, excise agent, and investment officer. Bureau then moved to the Lewiston School Department for four years, where she managed grants, including federal COVID-19 relief grants.

“I missed the municipal side, so I’m back on the municipal side,” Bureau said.
Bureau will start on February 13.

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