FARMINGTON — At the April 26 selectmen meeting, two department heads provided reviews of their departments.

Fire Rescue Interim Chief TD Hardy said Stan Wilcox, a per diem firefighter for the department since 2017 had been hired to fill a full-time vacancy. One call firefighter was hired, two resigned due to time commitment issues, he noted.

The roster currently consists of 14 call, five per diem and seven full-time firefighters.

Last year the department was involved with the county’s regional Firefighter I and II Academy held at the training facility, Hardy said. 30 firefighters completed the course including six from Farmington, he noted. Upgrades to the facility were made with funds donated by a local businessman, he added.

There were 20 training classes for the department last year and eight so far this year, Hardy said. Trainings have been expanded, include a weekly training drill conducted by each shift which focus on the skills needed to function with the current staffing levels, he noted.

The department is presenting fire prevention programs for day cares and groups, hopes to get the program in the schools again in the fall, Hardy said. Last year 27 Life Safety and Fire Code inspections were completed and 11 so far this year, he added.


The department responded to 476 calls in 2021 with 140 for hazardous conditions without a fire, 113 for rescue and emergency medical service and 54 for fires. Mutual aid was provided 46 times and received 22 times.

So far this year there have been 172 calls with 55 hazardous ones, 28 fires and 27 rescues and EMS. Mutual aid has been provided 17 times and received twice.

When asked, Hardy said the rescue and EMS calls are accidents and secondary medical calls when the ambulance is busy, providing patient care when the ambulance is coming from Sugarloaf or Turner.

“It’s an interesting dynamic,” he said. “We have the [Emergency Medical Technicians].”

“When do you decide it is time to charge insurance companies for our time,” Selectman Joshua Bell asked.

“We haven’t, could look into it,” Hardy said. “Some towns do charge cost recovery. I remember discussions years ago.”


One issue is how to bill residents, non-residents, he noted.

“It is time to have a serious conversation, see if it is viable,” Selectman Chair Matthew Smith said.

There could be a big battle with the insurance companies, Selectman Scott Landry said.

Farmington Parks and Recreation Director Matthew Foster provided information from his department. The community center was closed for much of 2021 because of COVID-19 but several online programs were offered, he noted. Some received more than 22,000 views, he said.

The April break camp was just completed and Easter and Valentine’s Day events were popular, Foster said.

Last year Jennifer Savage was hired as assistant director, he noted. “We are blessed to have her, she has a lot of good ideas.”


The Halloween Spooktacular saw 14 businesses moving inside the Community Center because of rain, Foster said. Walmart provided the candy and more than 180 kids attended, he noted.

After-school programs have started again, Foster said. His department offered about 30 programs in person providing some 14,000 hours participation to enhance mental and physical health, wellness, social emotional health, he noted. Hours for 16 virtual ones and use of outdoor facilities weren’t accounted for, it’s hard to track those, he added.

When asked about the skateboard park, Foster said Seth Wescott, who once worked for the department had donated some funds to help develop a plan in order to apply for a grant later this year.

“We do have some decent connections, are working with Tony Hawk,” Foster noted. “It was Maine’s first skateboard park.” Little, little kids are in there now with their remote control cars, he added.

In other business, Natural Resources Council of Maine Outreach Coordinator Marc Edwards introduced himself to the board. The council was formed about 60 years ago when a group of concerned citizens got together to protect what is now the Allagash Wilderness Waterway, he said.

The council continues its efforts to protect Maine’s natural resources through programs including healthy waters, forestry and wildlife, climate and clean energy, and sustainability.


Edwards has lived in Strong for 15 years, wants to stay there.

“I did work for a few years for Cooperative Extension in Franklin County doing some growth and economic development,” he said. “I got to know a lot of folks through that work as well. So, what this position is all about is to get to find out how [the council] can better represent the views of folks in Franklin County, and how we can be more relevant to folks in the rural parts of the state.”

Does the council deal with anything like the bottling plant in Kingfield and their consumption of water, is there someone regulating it, Bell asked. Edwards didn’t have an answer but said he would look into it.

Smith noted a lot of water is being pulled from there.

Selectman Byron Staples asked if any programs were currently ongoing or if the council was working in Franklin County.

The council has been and is still working on the CMP corridor issue, Edwards said. “Another issue impacting the Sandy River and the entire watershed is getting Atlantic salmon back,” he said. Removal of four dams on the Kennebec River is the only way for that to happen which isn’t a popular position, he noted.

“I do know one concern is for the mill in Skowhegan,” Edwards said. The council would not support dam removal if those jobs were to go away, he added.

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