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Piscataquis Regional Food Center seeks $50K USDA grant to get up and running

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DOVER-FOXCROFT — In order to get started to fulfill its mission of helping end food insecurity and increase the vitality of the agricultural economy of Dover-Foxcroft and surrounding communities, the Piscataquis Regional Food Center (PRFC) is applying for $50,000 in federal funding through the 2018 USDA Rural Development Community Facilities grant program. As part of the application process, a public hearing was held during the selectmen’s meeting on June 18.

“We are a non-profit located just down the street at 76 North Street in the old Agway building,” PRFC Executive Director Erin Callaway said. “We are applying for a USDA Rural Development Community Facilities grant to help with pieces of equipment that are critical to our services. This is all for the purchase of equipment.”

Callaway said federal funding will help the PRFC acquire equipment necessary to establish and operate climate-controlled food storage and light processing facilities. “We need a total of $110,000 to prepare the equipment we have deemed necessary,” she said.

“The grant is a little less than half that, $50,000,” Callaway said. “We would match that with other grant monies.”

Per the grant program requirements, the PRFC will provide a 55 percent cash match — $60,000 — to complete the proposed project. The match would be made with grant funds the organization secured from private foundations, such as the Stephen and Tabitha King Foundation and Harold Alfond Foundation, earlier in the year.

“We will know within 60 days of the USDA accepting our application,” Callaway said about whether the grant will be awarded. She said the plan is to submit the documents later in the week.

She said the PRFC will use the funds before the end of the year, which would enable the food center to begin operating its services by next spring.

“A big piece of this is the partnership with the Good Shepherd Food Bank to help them move more food in Piscataquis County,” Callaway said. The PRFC will help distribute items from the Good Shepherd Food Bank to food pantries throughout the region.

In other business, the selectmen approved the low bid of $403,610 by Welman Paving, Inc. of Winterport for the 2018 work as part of the 10-year paving plan. Two other bids were less than $9,000 more than that of Welman Paving, another was for nearly $434,000 and the high bid was $510,931.

“We have not used Welman before,” Town Manager Jack Clukey said. He said the company has paved in Guilford and Dover-Foxcroft officials talked with references for Welman Paving when examining the bids.

“We tightened up the timeframes and said we want it all done by the end of September,” Clukey said about the paving schedule. “We also said the roads would not be prepped for them until Aug. 1 because our crew is out changing culverts.”

“We are looking at a couple of areas Gorrill-Palmer said we could do a shim and overlay this year,” Clukey said, mentioning portions of the Stedman’s Landing Road, Foxcroft Center Road and Bear Hill Road as examples.

“What we do Gorrill-Palmer every spring is look at everywhere, what holds up well,” he added.

The selectmen also approved a grader lease purchase with Beauregard Equipment of Bangor for a 2019 grader.

“Our current grader is a 2012 and we have maintained the extended warranty and we got an extension on the warranty which is good for another year,” Clukey said.

He said the current Volvo grader has 6,000 hours and the vehicle has experienced significant downtime since the town acquired it. “Most recently they replaced the transmission,” Clukey said.

“With a year left on the warranty (the public works committee) looked at trading in that grader for something we can keep in service and last longer,” Clukey said. “We looked at a (CASE model) grader lease purchase agreement with a $41,265 annual payment.”

The current grader would be traded in and the $84,175 value would reduce the purchase price from $275,000 to $190,825. Clukey said the new grader would arrive in several weeks.

“805 people came out, higher than normal for that kind of election,” Town Clerk Lisa Bella Ronco said about the previous week’s referendum as residents voted on the municipal and school ballots as well as a state ranked choice voting question.

“Lisa mentioned more than 800 votes were cast between absentee and those who came out to the polls so that was a great turnout,” Clukey said in his report at the end of the meeting.

The town manager also said a Maine Department of Transportation culvert project on East Main Street is scheduled to start in mid-July. He said projects are planned at Kiwanis Park for the summer, including the installation of fencing to the backstop to try to contain foul balls, the Dover-Foxcroft Kiwanis replacing the gazebo roof and the club also installing a pole for another light and security cameras.

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