DOVER-FOXCROFT, Maine — Dave Johnson of Dover-Foxcroft was hired by selectmen Monday as the town’s new finance director and office manager at a salary of $44,000 a year.
Johnson’s selection came after a brief executive session. He will become full time on Feb. 28 and will replace retiring Barbara Moore.
With a degree in business administration and management, Johnson has worked for Olympia Sports in Bangor, Pride Manufacturing Co. in Guilford, and for the past 11 years has served as office manager of C.W. Hayes Law Office in Dover-Foxcroft, where his wife, Tonya Johnson, works.
The hiring committee was impressed with Johnson’s combined business and management skills, Selectman Cynthia Freeman Cyr said.
Selectmen were told Monday that more than 50 people attended a public hearing earlier in the day on a proposed public facilities grant to help convert the lower level of historic Central Hall into an adult day service program.
Friends of Central Hall, which is aggressively seeking grants to upgrade the building in two phases, is working with Penquis, Eastern Area Agency on Aging and the Charlotte White Center to make the program a reality. The latter agency is interested in operating the center.
Organizers hope to pattern the program after Friendship Cottage in Blue Hill, an adult day care facility. Representatives of that facility were on hand at Monday’s hearing to describe its programs.
The town already has applied for an approximately $100,000 brownfield grant to remove any hazardous materials inside the building. This grant has no requirements on how the building is used, according to Chris Maas of Friends of Central Hall.
If the town is awarded a $350,000 Community Development Block Grant for public facilities, which must be submitted by Jan. 21, then the town has committed itself to a senior center.
“This whole project has still got a lot of moving parts,” Maas said Monday. He recommended that selectmen organize a committee to help work on the project. “When we start construction, you [should] all understand that whatever senior center goes in there is going to be able to be properly funded and properly organized and set up,” he said.
The first phase of the building upgrade is expected to cost $620,000. The second phase, to make improvements to the second floor which would be used for community functions, is estimated to cost $150,000 to $200,000.
Selectman Jane Conroy, who congratulated Maas for his work, said the public hearing was an opportunity to learn about the proposed project, which would include pet therapy, public showers, a nurse’s station, and emphasizes the importance of volunteers and the sense of community.
“If you can keep a person in their home instead of in a nursing home, the federal agencies, the state agencies would rather fund that $10,000 to $12,000 per year than $60,000 to $80,000 to put them in a home, so it only makes economic sense for a community to have something like this to save money,” Selectman Elwood Edgerly said.
Selectmen on Monday also voted to schedule a public hearing in February on proposed changes to the town’s traffic ordinance. The Police Department has recommended that downtown parking be changed from three- to two-hour parking from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Another proposed change will eliminate the weight restriction on Essex Street.