JAY — The Franklin County Commission may begin developing a strategic plan, setting overall goals and objectives for the county early next year.
Chairman Terry Brann of Wilton, who represents District 1 that includes Jay, spoke to the Jay Select Board on Nov. 14 about such a plan.
State Rep. Thomas Skolfield, R-Weld, approached commissioners in September with the idea that came from his constituents. He encouraged commissioners to seriously consider it.
“The development and implementation of a strategic plan along with a mission statement becomes a road map that provides guidance to the commissioners and the county staff in order to work towards and meet the same overall goals and objectives,” he read from a statement Sept. 20.
“The recent receipt of $5.86 million in American Rescue Act Plan funding is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to move our county forward. An opportunity of such magnitude should not be allowed to pass without careful thought, planning and scrutiny by all involved,” Skolfield said.
“I think we are all in agreement we need a plan,” Brann told the Jay board. “But I think we need to do a mission statement first.”
When the federal grant was announced, commissioners had a meeting with municipalities to discuss the best way to spend the money and to benefit the county as a whole. A list of ideas was drafted.
“Broadband was way down on the list,” Brann said. He said one suggestion was to reduce the burden on taxpayers.
Commissioners have done a number of projects and have more in the works, including renovating the jail to increase space for medical and psychological services. Currently, medical providers are working from a very small space.
The locking system at the jail needed to be replaced. The cost is over $600,000. Five new hybrid cruisers for the Sheriff’s Office is another option, once the vehicles are found. The cruisers were ordered in February but commissioners learned recently that the order fell through.
About half the federal funds are tied up or have been spent.
A failing septic system at the jail has been replaced.
Other projects the commission approved include a housing renovation for Safe Voices in Farmington, affordable housing for workers in the Carrabassett Valley area, improvements to the World War I Teague Monument and area in Farmington, and a new countywide computer-aided dispatch program and public safety system that enhances record keeping and security for those involved in emergency situations.
Before committing any more funds, Brann has been waiting for an estimate on an addition to the Regional Communications Center in Farmington where the Sheriff’s Office and jail are. It would allow moving some government offices there, including the Emergency Management Agency and the Sheriff’s Office.
The mission statement could be developed by county Administrator Amy Bernard, Brann said.