June 16, 2019

Growing Franklin to consider hiring administrative assistant

FRANKLIN – This weekend, voters will be asked whether the town should hire a full-time administrative assistant.

Franklin is growing, and its residents are demanding more services, which is why some locals believe the town needs a full-time administrator, First Selectman Steve Walton said recently.

According to the U.S. Census data, Franklin’s population increased 20 percent from 1,141 people in 1990 to 1,370 people in 2000.

The town has held two public hearings on the proposal. So far, Walton said, comments have been evenly split.

“It is hard to call that one,” he said. “I don’t know which way it will go.”

Residents will vote on the proposal by written ballot.

If approved, the full-time position would replace the two elected paid positions of town clerk and tax collector, now held by Robert Fernald and Carol Young, respectively.

Walton said those employees would have the first right of refusal for the administrative assistant job.

The annual salary for the position would be $25,000, but it would cost the town $12,000 in the coming fiscal year because of the savings associated with the abolishment of the elected positions.

The town meeting will be noon Saturday at the Franklin Community Center on Route 182. Ballot elections will be from noon to 7 p.m. Friday.

Voting for appropriations to the Franklin Municipal School Department and the Sumner Memorial High School will be held later.

Other items on the warrant to be considered include:

. Authorizing selectmen to apply for a community development block grant of up to $400,000 on behalf of Seabait LLC for construction of a new business facility in the Franklin economic development area, a 23.7-acre zone at the University of Maine Aquaculture Center on Salmon Road.

. Constructing a records storage vault at the community center.

. Hiring an outside firm to perform property revaluations for up to $90,000. The amount would be funded by a one-time tax assessment or borrowed with a five-year repayment plan.

. Appropriating $20,000 from property taxes to

repair the Macomber Mills Road.

. Authorizing selectmen to spend up to $10,000 to install four “Welcome to Franklin” signs in town. The cost would be reimbursed by a state Department of Transportation Gateway Grant.

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