FARMINGTON – The Farmington Board of Selectmen held a public hearing on Tuesday night to give the community the opportunity to voice any concerns or questions regarding the warrant for the upcoming Secret Ballot Referendum to be held on April 26. Since many of the items on the warrant were similar to changes that are proposed to the public regularly, Town Manager Richard Davis assumed that most of the questions would be regarding the proposed budget which has a 12.13 percent total increase from last year’s budget. This is to compensate for the “flat nature” of the previous year’s budget which didn’t allow for sufficient flexibility for expenses that arose from the pandemic.
“We’ve put together a budget that meets the growing needs of a growing community without putting any burden on the backs of taxpayers,” said Davis.
Attending department heads and budget committee members confirmed his assessment of the budget. While the public didn’t voice many questions pertaining to the budget, Davis also went ahead and assured those in attendance that if approved after the referendum is held, the budget would not negatively affect future tax rates.
“It gives me a great deal of comfort to say that there is no reason this budget would result in an increase in taxes. In fact, if they wanted to, selectmen could lower taxes,” said Davis.
After the public hearing was closed, the board approved to postpone the special town meeting which had initially been scheduled for May 11. This was due to the fact that the board needed to acquire the public’s votes in order to move forward with signing on with a new electric and solar company to lower the town’s electric costs. However, after further research, it was determined that the saving estimates the company originally gave to the town were unrealistic. Farmington will now be pursuing a partnership with a new electric company that will still lower the overall costs. The town doesn’t require an official vote from the public to begin business with this new company.
“The urgency to hold a town meeting in May is no longer there,” said Davis.
The board agreed that they still thought it prudent to hold a town meeting discussing the partnership, even without the requirement of a vote. They approved the postponement and will set a date for the meeting at a later time.
They also approved an expenditure of up to $10,000 for the Parks and Recreation to purchase a new state surplus F-150 with no discussion necessary.
In continuing to look at the months ahead, the board approved Davis’s suggestion to use the municipal consulting services of Don Gerrish at Eaton Peabody to head the search for a new Town Manager pending his retirement.
“You always want someone who can do a better job than you did. And this community deserves nothing less,” said Davis, closing out the meeting.