Letter to the editor: County should support regional nonprofit organizations

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Congratulations to the Town of Farmington for standing up for our most vulnerable citizens and for paying our fair share of the cost of community and economic development programs serving Franklin County. This action has been a reaction to the decision by two county commissioners in 2017 to cut over $240,000 from a number of organizations that have served our county for over 40 years.

This year, for the fourth year in a row, the Farmington Board of Selectmen is recommending that the Town of Farmington at its town meeting provide $17,998 to eight nonprofits offering services ranging from “meals on wheels” to planning for broadband expansion. The selectmen are also sponsoring a resolution asking the county commissioners to return to the 40-year traditional agreement of providing support to these regional nonprofit organizations that greatly benefit our communities.

In addition, we may now have reason to be optimistic regarding future actions by the commissioners themselves. District Two has elected a new County Commissioner, Lance Harvell, who is a history teacher. We hope he may bring a new perspective to this situation. Farmington has a new member of the county budget committee, Selectboard Chair Matt Smith, who may also take a fresh look at the situation. In addition, Representative Scott Landry has garnered support for a new legislative bill that will send out to Franklin County voters the question of expanding the number of commissioners, bypassing the earlier rejection of this bill by the previous board of county commissioners.

Meanwhile we hope and trust that the Town of Farmington will again vote to support the nonprofit organizations that have served the county well for 40 years: Greater Franklin Development Council, Franklin County Children’s Task Force, Western Maine Transportation, Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Services, Western Maine Community Action, Seniors Plus, Soils and Conservation Services, and Adult Education. This opportunity provides all of us a chance to make a commitment to better understand what these organizations do, why they are critical to our community’s health, and how we might return to provide support for them from the whole county.

Fenwick Fowler, Ann Arbor, John Rosenwald

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