Kingfield selectmen begin budget review
KINGFIELD — During the March 6 Board of Selectmen meeting, Animal Control Officer Paul White reported Facebook has been a great resource for reconnecting dogs with their owners. “It’s worked three times so far. Sometimes it takes a few hours, sometimes it’s only a few minutes but it saves time not having to go to Farmington,” stated White. Selectmen meet regularly with department heads in order to get an understanding of any challenges or needs that should be addressed. White said it has been fairly quiet and everything was going well.
Selectmen reviewed and accepted guidelines for businesses applying for a Micro-Enterprise Assistance Grant through the State of Maine Community Development Block Grant Program. The invitation-only program is highly competitive with about $3 million in requests expected during the next grant cycle. Statewide, only $750,000 is anticipated to be awarded. According to the state program, grants can be awarded to existing or developing businesses with five or fewer employees, one of whom owns the business and whose family income falls into the Low-Moderate Income level. For business owners who exceed the LMI requirement, grants can be awarded if the grant would create jobs. Business facade grants are for exterior improvements and signage for businesses in the slum and blight area.
Locally, selectmen agreed grant applications needed to have an up-to-date request on file with the town and show a reasonable need for funding. Guidelines also state the building can not be considered for sale or trade. For the micro-enterprise grant, the business has to be consistent with the comprehensive plan. For the facade grant, first priority is given for exterior maintenance and improvements directly impacting appearance. The grant must have a five percent match.
Applicants must remain in business for five years in order to avoid having to pay back grant awards. Selectmen requested information be gathered and presented regarding how other towns were dealing businesses that close prior to the end of the five-year period.
Selectmen reviewed the first draft of the 2017-18 budget. As it currently stands, the budget shows a slight decrease over last year’s $1 million budget. There are first-time requests from Healthy Equity Alliance ($500), Kingfield Fire Department Auxiliary ($1,000), Kingfield Flags ($500) and Kingfield Trail Builders ($4,000). Lifeflight of Maine is requesting $997. Selectmen will continue reviewing the budget before putting it before the Budget Committee April 10.
Selectmen meet the first and third Monday of each month at 6 p.m. in Webster Hall. The next meeting will be held March 20. Meetings are open to the public and attendance is encouraged.