Dexter may adjust town office hours

DEXTER — Currently the Dexter Town Office is open from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. An exact schedule is to be determined, but the town council is planning to have the office be closed on Mondays but still be open 40 hours a week across the other four week days as was discussed during an Oct. 12 meeting. 

A motion to change to Tuesday through Friday was approved.

Town Manager Trampas King said some work, such as online registrations, can be done from home rather than by residents coming in and he said having the office closed on Mondays would give employees an extra day off.

Council Chairperson Andrew Bermudez mentioned this 3-day weekend could ideally lead to less sick time being used by office employees. He said having the office open four days a week would allow for extended business hours without the need for extended employee compensation, and he sees it as a way to serve the public better.

Exactly what the new town hours would be are still to be determined, such as when to open later and/or earlier than the current schedule. Bermudez said he would like the opportunity to talk to other towns to see how these schedules have been working, as well as speaking with residents for their input.

“I like the idea, I think there’s a lot of unknowns and I would like to know more information,” he said.

The new hours could go into effect in the new year, and could be adjusted after a trial period.

In other business, the council approved an annual mutual aid agreement with the town of Newport.

King said the document is the same as in years past, as the two Penobscot County communities will back each other up with incidents when needed. 

“They want to verify we are still in agreement,” King said, mentioning Dexter has another agreement with the Dover-Foxcroft Police Department.

The town manager also suggested the town consider a moratorium on solar farms. He said there is one in development at a Route 94 site and another has been mentioned for a field on Route 7 across from P&L Country Market. The town manager said some residents have also expressed concern about a site on a hill near the Ripley town line, saying if it were to become a solar farm then they would be looking to sell their home.

“In my opinion I think we need to put something out there saying no more for now and we need to figure out what’s going on,” he said. 

With a moratorium in place, the town could temporarily pause any new solar farm development while more permanent measures, such as land use ordinance amendments, are developed.

“The ones that have already done their due diligence would be grandfathered,” King said.

He gave councilors copies of other towns’ solar farm moratoriums  to look over for future discussion.

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