FARMINGTON – Voters will have their say on the town’s municipal budget tonight at 7 p.m., at the annual town meeting at Mt. Blue High School.
The budget is proposed at $8.5 million, including an increase of approximately $1.65 million over the previous year’s budget. Due to increased revenue, relating largely to valuation associated with the solar farm development as well as additional state revenue sharing, the anticipated tax mil rate would fall to 0.01898, or $18.98 per $1,000 of property valuation. That is down from the current rate of 0.01920, or $19.20 per $1,000. On a $100,000 home, that would represent a savings to the Farmington taxpayer of $22, as compared to last year’s tax bill.
Increases in the budget include roughly $400,000 of employee pay adjustments, or approximately 5 percent of the entire budget. That is part of an effort to bring town employee salaries up to comparable level for similarly-sized towns in a bid to improve retention in town departments such as the Farmington police. Previously, Town Manager Christian Waller said that the budget would represent an average increase of $7,300 per employee, although specific adjustments would depend on current rates of compensation, skills and background.
Another $300,000 of the increase is represented by increased funding for road work, raising the annual investment in the town’s roads to $650,000. That increase covers both the scope of paving work, per the town’s Capital Improvement Program which calls this year for the completion of the High Street project among others, as well as higher material costs. Other large increases include adding two full-time firefighter positions to replace per diem ones as well as adding $75,000 to the Fire Equipment Reserve Account to go toward the replacement of Engine 2.
Another new item is $57,000 in debt service to go toward a new roof on the Community Center. Federal American Rescue Plan Act funds are also expected to go toward that project.
The warrant can be viewed here in advance of the meeting, which will be held at the Mt. Blue Campus gymnasium at 7 p.m. The campus is located at 129 Seamon Road.