Franklin Countys First News

Commissioners talk communications, winter maintenance

Commissioner Terry Brann of Wilton, Chair Charles Webster of Farmington and Commissioner Clyde Barker of Strong listen as Cecile Lowell outlines her issues with the winter maintenance of Lowell Road in New Vineyard.

FARMINGTON - Commissioners received a report on the county's efforts to improve its emergency communications Tuesday, as well as receiving a petition from a New Vineyard resident regarding winter maintenance along a road.

Emergency Management Agency Director Tim Hardy, appearing on behalf of Communications Director Stan Wheeler, said that county fire and law radio frequencies were now being broadcasted from the county's newly-acquired, 190-foot tower on Mosher Hill, as of last week. The county acquired the 30-year-old tower from Tri-county Emergency Medical Services last year and has removed several preexisting components in order to install its three antennas. It is significantly taller than the 100-foot tower, also on Mosher Hill, used previously for county emergency communications. The older tower will be left standing as a back up.

Hardy said that emergency services were in the process of testing the new equipment on the tower but were "very pleased with the results" so far. One of the next steps will be to connect the tower to the dispatch center via Radio Over Internet Protocol, a system that is currently being used in Phillips, Strong and Weld as a counter to Franklin County's hilly terrain.

Hardy said that planners hoped to have commissioners tour the tower site and dispatch center once the improvements were complete.

Commissioners also approved moving a dispatcher, Dawn Tolman, to permanent, full-time status. She had completed her six-month probationary period, having been hired in August 2016.

In other business, commissioners considered a failure to maintain petition submitted by Cecile Lowell, a resident of Lowell Road in New Vineyard. Lowell told commissioners that the road was not being plowed in a manner that allowed for easy access. In attempting to avoid material located and/or parked near Lowell Road by a neighbor, the plow was swerving to the side, Lowell said, and not leaving adequate space between the ditch and snow bank.

Lowell said that she had to clear the public road at times, and had purchased salt when it became icy.

The issue of winter maintenance of Lowell Road had been brought before commissioners back in 2004. The next official step, County Clerk Julie Magoon said, would be to conduct a site inspection and public meeting with New Vineyard town officials.

Commissioner Charles Webster of Farmington suggested that Magoon first contact the selectmen and bring the situation to their attention, prior to an official meeting being schedule. Come spring, Webster said, the board could consider reviewing the placement of the neighbor's vehicles and structures to see if they were impeding winter maintenance of Lowell Road.

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4 Responses »

  1. Did they discuss the impact of the State's re-assessment of the counties' valuation and how it will impact all of our mil rates, resulting in significantly higher property taxes? Or, push that off to a future meeting like they do everything else.

  2. Scott,

    Not sticking up for them, but what control does a county commisioner have on a states re-assessment?

  3. The procedure for getting the County Commissioners to address a town's failure to keep a road "safe and convenient" is found in 23 MRSA 3651 through 3654. If more people knew about this process, we might have fewer towns managing to neglect a road for so long they can claim it abandoned and absolve themselves of all responsibility. For more information, go to of find Maine ROADWays on facebook.

  4. Answer to Scott dyar: most people don't know when they vote on closing roads that the re_ assessment of the property could raise there taxes and the don't tell that either