FARMINGTON — Town employees will get a 2.54 percent increase in pay starting after Town Meeting in March, as a result of Board of Selectmen approving the raises Tuesday night.

Town Manager Richard Davis said the increase was put in place to keep the town in line with changes in the consumer price index and does not apply to unionized employees, whose wages are negotiated through collective bargaining.

Both the Police Department and the Public Works Department are unionized.

The pay increases were among a slate of items discussed by the board Tuesday, including an update to the town’s tobacco policy, funding requests from social service agencies and the New England Clean Energy Connect project, a proposed 145-mile transmission line that would run through Farmington and elsewhere in Franklin County.

Selectmen approved changes to the tobacco policy to expand the definition of what is not allowed on town property. In addition to smoking cigarettes, the use of e-cigarettes, vaping and other methods of smoking tobacco are prohibited, as is the consumption or smoking of marijuana.

Davis said there haven’t been any major problems involving smoking on town property, but there have been recent instances of people vaping at sporting events at Hippach Field.

“They’ve been told ‘no,’ but we didn’t really have the authority spelled out,” he said. “This new policy is more specific in terms of the things that are prohibited.”

The board Tuesday night also discussed funding requests from nonmunicipal and social services agencies, which has been a topic of debate since Franklin County moved over the last few years to scale back funding for nonprofit and social service agencies.

Earlier this year, selectmen considered whether to create a new policy around requests to fund outside groups. However, they moved Tuesday night to continue with the town’s current practice of not accepting new requests from outside agencies.

As was the case at the 2018 Town Meeting, Davis said voters will have the option next year to continue funding groups that have received money from the town in the past, and they again will be given the option to pass a resolution urging the county to continue funding nonprofits and social services.

Finally, selectmen Tuesday also received an update on the New England Clean Energy Connect project from Central Maine Power spokesman John Carroll.

According to materials distributed at the meeting by Carroll, the project has received a transmission services agreement from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and is awaiting permits from the Army Corps of Engineers and U.S. Department of Environmental Protection.

At the state level, CMP anticipates decisions on permitting from the Maine Department of Environmental Protection and Land Use Planning Commission in the second half of 2019.

The Maine Public Utilities Commission, which held its last public hearing on the project last week, is expected to enter into deliberations in December.

Construction would be expected to start at the end of 2019 or the beginning of 2020, with construction to be completed by the end of 2022.

Rachel Ohm — 612-2368

[email protected]

Twitter: @rachel_ohm

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