Farmington referendum vote April 26

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FARMINGTON – Voters will consider a $6.8 million budget next week by way of a referendum vote to be held at the Community Center on Middle Street.

Town Manager Richard Davis said residents should be prepared to spend some significant time in the booths as the warrant is a three-page document.

The 42 articles will cover a proposed budget of $6,849,868- a $741,000 increase over the current fiscal year. Though the increase may look daunting to voters, Davis said nearly all of it would be sourced from the Unassigned Fund Balance. Despite the town not being in control of the local school budget or county budget, Davis said tax payers should feel confident that there will be no increases this year.

“The town is in very good financial condition,” he said.

That is primarily due to the large balance of the Unassigned Fund account, which currently sits at roughly three million. Last year that fund saw an increase of roughly $600,000 due to revenues being higher, and expenditures being lower.

“Surprisingly, despite the pandemic, we had a pretty good year,” Davis said.

The majority of the increase would be seen in the Farmington Fire Rescue Department budget which is proposing an additional $200,000. That amount would cover the salaries of two new firefighter positions that were created, and only partially paid for, last year. This year’s numbers reflect a full year of salary as opposed to last year’s reflection of only four months of pay. A per-diem position will also be funded through that amount and will create a five-day, 10-hour per day opportunity for available personnel. Chief Terry Bell said a portion of that amount is out of their hands, covering things such as a $67,000 increase in worker’s compensation bills and a $40,000 increase in the reserve account for future equipment upgrades.

The Police Department is also requesting a relatively large increase in budget- $195,000 that would cover personnel increases, and vehicle and equipment expenditures. Much of that number is uncontrollable, such as contractual obligations that include increase contributions to health insurance, and pay increases for management employees.

Chair of the Board of Selectmen Matt Smith is running unopposed for another three-year term. A three-year seat on the Regional School Unit 9 Board of Directors is open this year, Gloria McGraw and Brandon Reed will both be on the ballot for the seat. Wayne Kinney is running unopposed for a two-year seat on the RSU 9 Board of Directors.

Voting will take place on Monday, April 26 from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. at the Community Center on Middle Street. Absentee ballots are now available at the Town Office, or can be requested by calling 778-6539 or emailing Town Clerk Leanne Dickey at townclerk@farmington-maine.org.

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