Tax rate set; Town Manager honored for 20 years of service

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FARMINGTON – The Board of Selectmen set the tax rate for the upcoming year during their meeting on August 24. The variable in question was the TIF overlay; a minimum of $135,000 would need to be appropriated to cover the approved expenditures for the High Street project. The Board voted four to one to set the mil rate at 0.01920, appropriating $175,000 for the TIF. The larger overlay will allow the town some flexibility in the event of unexpected expenses. Michael Fogg voted against the $175,000 but spoke in favor of putting $150,000 towards the TIF. The mil rate, with the higher appropriation for TIF, is still the lowest it has been since 2015.

A lunch wagon permit was granted to Jeremy Donovan of Chesterville for Street Eats, a multicultural food cart. They will set up at a variety of locations, currently including Tumbledown Brewing and Blue Sky Dispensary.

Cory Boyker of Farmington applied for a medical marijuana retail license. The business will be located at 184 Farmington Falls Road. The application included the relevant state and local documentations, including security and odor control plans, and the board granted approval.

The Public Works Department presented the board with a recommendation for a front-end loader. The department put it out to bid and recommended that the town purchase the least expensive option, a 2019 John Deere, priced at $185,562, with low hours and a full warranty. The front-end loader was owned by a construction company who rented it out for a short period of time. The Board approved the purchase. They also approved the sale of the surplus 1996 front-end loader to an unnamed local buyer who made an undisclosed offer for the machine.

Police Chief Kenneth Charles requested board approval to enter an agreement with the Franklin County Agricultural Society for policing services during the week of the Farmington Fair. This has been a standard agreement for the last several years. While the department is still a little short-staffed, Chief Charles said they have filled out a schedule with select officers from other agencies to provide 24/7 coverage of the fairgrounds during the fair week. A monetary sum had not been agreed on; it would include about 306 officer hours and some potential equipment costs. The Board approved the agreement with the sum to be determined.

The Board addressed a variety of business and legal affairs related to the retirement of Town Manager Richard Davis and the appointment of new Town Manager Christian Waller. These included executing and recommitting the tax collection responsibilities and debts from Davis to Waller, establishing Waller with the town’s bank and adding him as a financial agent for the town, and authorizing the town clerk to issue liquor licenses and pole permits that do not require board approval. In the past, the town manager has approved these applications, but as the town clerk issues the paperwork, it made sense to authorize the clerk to approve them.

At the end of the meeting, board member Scott Landry presented Davis with a State of Maine flag that had been flown over the capitol building. The flag was presented on behalf of the legislature and the State of Maine in honor and thanks for 20 years of service to the town of Farmington, service on many local, regional, and state committees and organizations.

Landry added that the citation document accompanying the flag would be corrected; the copy presented to Davis read “In Memoriam” for an award given posthumously. Davis was amused by the unexpected news of his own passing, but accepted the flag with gratitude.

“It has been a pleasure to work with you,” Chairman Matthew Smith told Davis, “I think we’re better because of it.”

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