FARMINGTON — Residents will have a chance Monday to weigh in on a proposed ordinance creating regulations around marijuana businesses and vote on whether they support a proposed transmission line project through western Maine.

Those items and others, including a $6.1 million proposed municipal budget, are up for consideration at the town meeting at 7 p.m. at the Farmington Community Center.

Town Manager Richard Davis said he is expecting a lot of interest in the nonbinding vote that will allow residents to say whether they support, don’t support or have no position on the New England Clean Energy Connect project, a proposed 145-mile transmission line that would bring hydropower from Quebec to Massachusetts through western Maine.

Proponents of the project have touted its tax benefits, including $436,183 in new annual tax revenue projected for Farmington, and a $258 million benefits package that includes funding for Franklin County economic development and education.

Opponents have said the project would be to the detriment of the area’s scenery and natural landscape.

“We’re getting a lot of interest in Article 27 about the CMP discussion,” Davis said. “I’m hoping it will be a civil discourse.”

Farmington is the latest community to poll residents on their feelings about the project. The warrant item also directs the Board of Selectmen to write a letter to the Maine Public Utilities Commission, making them aware of the outcome.

“I don’t know how much weight they’ll give it, but it’s not the deciding factor (in permitting),” Davis said.

Other items to be considered Monday include a proposed Adult Use and Medical Marijuana Stores, Cultivation Facilities, Manufacturing Facilities and Testing Facilities Ordinance.

The proposal, if approved, would put in place zoning regulations and a permitting process for adult-use, or recreational, marijuana sales and new medical marijuana facilities.

Recreational marijuana was legalized in Maine in November 2016, but many communities, including Farmington, have opted to put moratoriums on marijuana businesses to give themselves time to figure out regulations and zoning requirements.

The ordinance proposal being considered Monday was developed by the town’s code enforcement officer and Planning Board and incorporates some public feedback.

If approved, it would prohibit marijuana businesses in most residential areas as well as the downtown historic district. Marijuana sales and business also would

At the 2018 annual town meeting, Farmington voters supported a resolution asking Franklin County commissioners to fund social service agencies and economic development. This year residents will be asked to approve a statement asking the commissioners to reverse a policy adopted in 2017 to cut funding for nonprofit social services. Livermore Falls Advertiser file photo by Pam Harnden

be regulated tightly in other places downtown.

Also Monday, residents will be asked to approve a statement asking Franklin County commissioners to reverse a policy adopted in 2017 to cut funding for nonprofit social services.

In 2017, the county cut $143,000 from a requested social services budget of $209,000 and in 2018 cut $31,000 from the budget request of $94,000, according to Monday’s meeting warrant.

The money supports agencies such as Western Maine Community Action, Western Maine Transportation Services and the Franklin County Children’s Task Force.

Another item on the warrant asks Farmington residents to approve $17,998 in funding for the social services agencies to make up for the cuts from the county.

A proposed two-year lease with the county for the town to take over maintenance of the Anson Street parking lot and open the parking lot up for overnight parking downtown, also is scheduled to go before voters.

There is no cost to the town other than for maintenance of the lot. The move is intended to help alleviate a downtown parking shortage.

Selectmen and the Budget Committee have approved a $6.11 million budget for 2019-20, a breakdown of which will be voted on by residents Monday.

The budget includes 2.54 percent raises for nonunion employees as well as a 25 percent increase in water and fire hydrant fees, which are set by the Farmington Water Department.

Davis said he plans to also ask voters Monday to add $5,000 to the budget for traffic light maintenance for additional expenses.

He said it’s too early to say how much the budget, which is up 5.5 percent over the current year, will affect property taxes. The tax rate, which is based on a combination of municipal, county and school budgets, is $19.57 per $1,000 of assessed property value.

In elections, Selectman Joshua Bell, the board chairman, and Selectman Michael Fogg are running uncontested for re-election to three-year terms.

Douglas Dunlap, a member of the Regional School Unit 9 board of directors, also is running uncontested for re-election for a three-year term. Isaac Raymond is running uncontested for a second three-year term on the school board. Dennis O’Neil is running uncontested for a two-year term on the RSU 9 board.

Elections will be held from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the community center.


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