FARMINGTON — Selectmen Tuesday night, Feb. 14, supported a plan that would provide fire services for Industry.

Voters in Industry will be asked to approve the agreement at the March 11 annual Town Meeting. If approved, Industry would pay Farmington $30,000 for one year of emergency response and administration. It includes $10,000 to cover Industry’s administrative services plus $20,000 to provide emergency response to calls and daily duties, according to the agreement.

Officials in Industry approached Farmington Fire Rescue last year about providing fire service protection, Fire Chief Tim “TD” Hardy said. The one-year plan would be from April 1 to March 31, 2024, with those dates based on the annual Town Meetings, he noted. Selectmen’s thoughts were being asked for, to know if the plan should go forward, be presented to Industry voters, he added.

Industry would be required to maintain their trucks, be billed if Farmington had a part they needed, Hardy said.

Selectman Joshua Bell asked if $30,000 was enough.

With an average of about 35 calls a year, Hardy thought it would be. Emergency medical services would only be included if NorthStar ambulance was not available, he said.


“I think it is a fair figure,” Hardy said. It would cover Farmington’s time, make sure there is enough staff and have decent coverage in Farmington, he added.

Selectman Stephan Bunker, who also serves on the fire department, was in favor, noted this was the right direction. Other departments in the area are struggling, it’s not getting any easier to keep these volunteer departments going, he added.

Industry officials will continue to meet with Farmington to get more answers to share with their voters ahead of the Town Meeting. With no Town Manager, Hardy suggested some selectmen attend those meetings. Bunker offered.

Chair Matthew Smith spoke of efforts years ago to develop regional fire service. “I am glad to see this is starting to move forward,” he said. “The whole community will be better for it.”

In other business, after tabling it at their last meeting, selectmen agreed to sign a memorandum of understanding that would reimburse Franklin County $24,339.19 for licensing and upgraded public safety and informational services. Of that amount, $17,373.40 is for licenses and upgrades, $6,365.79 for maintaining the upgraded services and $600 for the subscription fee for those services. The funds would be due no later than Dec. 31, 2024.

“This is next generation computer aided dispatch [CAD] system, is probably the most important piece of software and ultimately hardware that’s maintained by the county,” Police Chief Kenneth Charles said. Total cost of the project is $783,000, he noted. “The $17,373.40 is our opt in, a one time expense, the remaining $6,365.79 and $600, those are annual costs that we currently pay anyway,” he noted.


Commissioners approved spending up to $500,000 for this project with ARPA funds, county emergency management agency obtained $130,000 through Homeland Security, Tim Hardy, director of Franklin County EMA said. Six police departments and four fire departments use the program, he noted.

Costs for each town are tiered, Charles said, Farmington’s costs would be more than Rangeley’s.

Bell asked what system other fire departments use.

Farmington uses it for records, a lot don’t, TD Hardy said.

It is useful for records management and accountability, Tim Hardy stated. “When we do have an incident that goes bad or people want to see a copy of those reports, we need to make sure all our T’s are crossed,” he noted.

In 2010 the system dispatch used was antiquated, many used paper and records were spotty, Tim Hardy said. More than $100,000 in grant funds were obtained, Somerset County provided tech support and servers. In 2008 or 2009 Jay, Carrabassett Valley and UMF started using a program through Androscoggin County with grant funding, he noted. With Somerset support, all were brought together in Franklin, he stated.


Later, Franklin hired its own IT person, got away from Somerset, Tim Hardy added. Costs would be $2M for another vendor to provide the same services as the one quoted, he stated.

“We are at a point where we either jump on the train or not,” Charles said. All hardware is at the county, there’s a dedicated IT person, Farmington definitely benefits, he added. “We reap a lot of IT support by entering with the county on this type of program,” he added.

Bell said he didn’t understand why the cost wasn’t spread out to all towns, wasn’t part of the county budget.

The county is picking up the full tab, is also buying the sheriff’s office portion, TD Hardy stated. “My records program isn’t Chief Charles’ record program, each is separate,” he noted. “The [county] will buy the CAD piece, we will all connect to it. Some fire departments use nothing, some do a little bit, some do more.”

Bunker appreciated needing the program, but agreed with Bell on the funding mechanism. “I am a supporter of this, there are other discussions to be had,” he stated.

When asked, Charles said the timing would be a bit later than the Dec. 2024 originally thought. Somerset signed an agreement, their system will be implemented before Franklin County, he noted.


“That’s not a bad thing,” Tim Hardy said. “Some of the bugs could be worked out first.”

With payment not due until Dec. 2024, funding will come from that year’s operational budget.




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