Frankfort discusses referendums; three vie for selectman seat

By Kendra Caruso | Mar 18, 2020
Photo by: Kendra Caruso Seated from left facing residents, Frankfort Selectmen Vaughan Littlefield, Seven Imondi and Evelyn Adams discuss referendums at a public hearing March 16 at the Frankfort Congregational Church.

Frankfort — About 15 Frankfort residents gathered Monday night at the Congregational Church to discuss two referendum questions regarding road maintenance. The hour-long meeting sparked discussions and difficult questions about significant repairs needed to maintain equipment.

Residents will vote on two questions that would eliminate the highway department and privatize road maintenance, and a $1 million bond to repave certain roads.

It would cost roughly $255,000 per year for three years, according to the selectmen. To keep the highway department would cost about $273,000 per year for the next three years, factoring in a new plow truck and a pay raise forthe  road commissioner, the selectmen said.

Two of the town’s plow trucks are in running condition need important repairs, according to Selectman Vaughan Littlefield.

There were a couple of people who supported privatizing road maintenance to save a little bit of money that they thought would ease the burden on taxpayers. The only company to bid on a three-year maintenance contract was local business Anderson Construction and Logging.

The proposed bond will repave 8 miles of town road, if approved. There is 31.8 miles of road in Frankfort, the selectmen said. They said 8 miles covers a large portion of the  town-maintained roads.

Selectman Steven Imondi said town officials would not just award the project to the lowest bidder, but would consider the work ethic and quality of bidders. He said now is a good time to bond because interest rates are currently very low.

Three run for selectman

Imondi is running for reelection to his selectman seat, but has two opponents. He has lived in Frankfort for 16 years and hopes to continue to serve the community's concerns and town needs as they occur. He said he supports the road bond and privatizing road maintenance.

“I want to do what’s in the best interest of the town,” he said, “that’s what my goal has always been.”

Michael Shaw is running for the selectman seat to address issues in a more timely manner, listen to residents' concerns and because he wants to see more transparency in local government. He is a pharmacy technician and has lived in Frankfort for 15 years.

He said he supports the road bond, but is concerned that if the town contracts out road maintenance that it will lose some control over how maintenance is done and some people would lose work.

But he said if the town kept the highway department it would have to spend a large amount of money to repair equipment. He said the only option to make those repairs would be to seek grants.

“If we’re going to do it, we’re in a bad spot,” he said. “We can either do it completely right or halfway and I don’t like to do anything halfway”

Shaw said he wanted to increase communication between the town and its residents and part of that is making things accessible online, as well as in print at the Town Office. He said he hopes to repair sports fields and parks so families can better enjoy town amenities.

Dana Bishop Jr., the third candidate in the selectmen's race, did not respond to requests for comment.

The town will vote on the two bonds and two contested races for selectman and road commissioner Wednesday, March 26, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Congregational Church.

As of press time, the annual town meeting is still set for Thursday, March 27, at 7 p.m. but has been relocated to the church.

Frankfort Selectman Steven Imondi sits at his desk at the Town Hall after a public hearing on road referendums March 16. He is seeking reelection. (Photo by: Kendra Caruso)
Michael Shaw sits at the Frankfort Congregational Church after a public hearing about road referendums March 16. He is running for town selectman. (Photo by: Kendra Caruso)
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