FARMINGTON – The Board of Directors voted at the November 23 meeting to proceed with Treasurer LucyAnn Cook’s proposed Bangor Savings Bank timekeeping and accumulation tracking system. The city already uses Bangor Savings Bank for payroll, and this system is a further integration that provides planning, scorecards and accrual tracking. These features are accessible via a mobile application.
Cook told the board she had spoken to department heads about the proposed changes. Chief of Police Ken Charles and Deputy Chief Shane CÃ´tÃ© took an interest in the planning function, as well as the integration between planning and payroll. Currently, Cote can devote up to eight hours per pay period to payroll and extra time to planning. Due to the complications of police shifts, the potential margin for error in calculating time and pay is greater. The integration between planning and payroll should streamline the process. In the fire department, planning can take up to eight hours per month to fill shifts. With the addition of the system, firefighters could obscure the days they are not available to work shifts, allowing the department to see at a glance who is available when and what gaps they need to fill.
There is an initial setup cost, approximately $ 1,500, to integrate the program and customize it for city services. There is an additional monthly cost which varies depending on the number of employees; the contract is at will, allowing the city to drop the service if it chooses to do so. A previous estimate for a year was around $ 9,000, but Cook predicts the cost could be lower. Cook also said the transition period would not be as long as previous transitions between payroll programs, as they are already an established customer of Bangor Savings Bank.
The board members present voted unanimously to move the program forward. Stephan Bunker chaired the meeting in the absence of President Matthew Smith; Michael Fogg and Scott Landry were in attendance and Joshua Bell was absent.
Council also approved an expenditure of $ 4,800 for Casco Bay Advisors to conduct a study on broadband and Internet services in the city. The conversation about accessible, affordable and reliable broadband takes place in communities statewide and at the state level; completing the study will enable the city to have informed conversations with service providers and with neighboring communities and the region as a whole. American Rescue Plan Act funds could be used for broadband initiatives, and the board agreed to spend the $ 4,800 from ARPA funds.
A conversation has been initiated between the Maine Department of Transportation and the Town of Farmington regarding the possibility of redeploying the lanes on Route 2 / Wilton Road. The MDOT proposes to move from two lanes of traffic in each direction to one lane in each direction and turning lanes. When a similar proposal was made several years ago, the citizens of the city were worried and opposed to the change; the board of directors has agreed to consider the proposal at a future meeting.
The council has agreed to send a letter of support for the railway trail bridge project. The High Peaks Alliance worked to find grants to cover the cost of the project and asked the city to contribute. ARPA funds could be used for the project, as it supports tourism, economic development, mental health and physical health development. The board was unable to commit funds at this time, but agreed that a letter of support, which could be useful for funding federal and state grants, would be appropriate.
Matt Foster, the director of the parks and recreation department, asked the board of directors to accept a check for $ 100,000 from Judith Bjorn. The donation was returned to the recreation department to be used for programming purposes. Foster asked the board to put the funds in an escrow account until plans can be made to use it. The Board of Directors agreed to accept the funds and thanked Judith and the Bjorn family; over the years they have invested heavily in Farmington, particularly in the recreation department, and the town is grateful for their support.