FAIRFIELD — Nomination papers for two Town Council seats will be available beginning July 26, according to Fairfield Town Clerk Christine Keller.

The terms for current councilors Peter Lawrence and John Picchiotti are set to expire at the end of the year, prompting the election for the seats. Both seats carry three-year terms.

Those interested in running for the seats should get nomination papers from Keller, who will also provide information about the duties of councilors and the election process.

The papers must be returned by 4:30 p.m. Sept. 3 with 25 to 100 signatures.

After the nomination process, the election is scheduled for Nov. 2, coinciding with state elections.

“We capture a lot of efficiencies by doing it that way,” Keller said. “It’s a lot of work to run an election.”

There are no other municipal races planned for the election, but it is possible the Charter Review Committee could ask the Town Council to add something, according to Keller.

Instead of two races in which candidates must pick the seat they seek, there will be one pool of candidates and the top two will win the seats.

Lawrence and Picchiotti each said in telephone interviews Thursday they planned to run in the election.

Lawrence said he planned to run again because he has enjoyed helping taxpayers and the town.

Picchiotti said he has been on the Town Council for many years and he enjoys working with the current councilors. He added Fairfield has been doing well in recent years, and he wants to keep that going.

The town put out a public notice about the nomination papers earlier this week, and the topic was included in the public announcements at the Town Council meeting Wednesday.

DRINKING WATER PLANS

City councilors also discussed Fairfield’s ongoing effort to expand the public drinking water system to residents who have been affected by PFAS contamination, also known as “forever chemicals,” of well water in the area.

The town has hired local firm Dirigo Engineering to assist with the project, and Town Manager Michelle Flewelling said she met with the firm at the end of June to discuss the project. The town has received $22,500 from the Somerset County Community Benefit Fund to pay for early stages of the project.

“We will not need to use the community development funds that we had set aside for other purposes, but were using for this,” Flewelling said. “That was good. We were very thankful for that.”

The Maine Department of Environmental Protection is also working to install carbon filters at the houses of affected residents. In the meantime, the state DEP is providing bottled water to those whose wells have been tested and show PFAS levels exceeding the state’s legal limit of 20 parts per trillion.

The town has been assisting with the water distribution by allowing residents to pick it up at the fire station but has struggled to store it as the need increased.

That 20-parts-per-trillion limit was passed at the end of last month. Prior to that, the state DEP was following the Environmental Protection Agency’s health recommendation of 70 parts per trillion. The lower limit has increased the number of households eligible for bottled water and filter systems.

The town has found a temporary storage solution for the bottled water, according to Flewelling. It has the DEP deliver water Fridays, the same day residents can pick it up, and the fire station will pull a fire truck out to provide more room for the water.

The measure works for now, Flewelling said, but would not be doable in the cold, snowy winter months.

“That’s the reason why this storage solution is temporary because, when winter comes and we have freezing conditions, we cannot store a firetruck outside all day,” Flewelling said. “The large influx that we have right now is simply because of the change in the law.”

OTHER MATTERS

The Town Council also approved $51,500 for the Lawrence High School band and orchestra. The money is from the Crawford Trust Fund.

Councilors also discussed a remote meeting policy, agreeing they would like to continue allowing remote participation in municipal meetings.

The proposed policy would set standards for when a council member or committee member could attend remotely, but would not limit remote participation from the public, so meetings would continue to be live-streamed online and broadcast over Zoom.

“The reason for that was simply because of the fact that they didn’t feel that it was prudent for people to get on a committee — commit to community — and then know that they’re going to spend six to eight months in another state and just kind of phone it in,” Flewelling said.

Councilors are expected to vote on the proposed policy at their next meeting, scheduled for July 28.

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