Letter to the Editor: Farmington’s budget

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To the Citizens of Farmington:

Our nation, along with our state and community, is faced with a major economic downturn, one that causes us to make very deliberate decisions on our personal and community finances and well being. Such decisions must reflect the realities of the times; yet consider the means to ensure the continuance of essential services.

In anticipation of the coming year, department heads and manager have presented a very conservative budget proposal for the operation of municipal services, with no increases in staffing or new programs/services. The goal was an attempt to maintain the level of essential municipal services that the town expects and deserves, while keeping to a minimum the cost of operations. We have accordingly proposed a budget that is $9,000 lower than last year’s, a decrease of 0.21 percent.

Most challenging is the lack of control on some vital commodities such as fuel for our fleets and to heat municipal buildings, road salt, asphalt, electricity, virtually every product and service that the town operates on. Adding to the challenge in budgeting is the anticipated reduction in revenues for the coming year, particularly state revenue sharing and local road assistance. Furthermore, excise tax; a major source of non-property tax revenue for the town has also fallen off.

With all the negatives said and done, we must balance them against the many aspects of our town that we can be thankful for. In contrast to the state or federal budgets, the state of our town’s finances remains sound as demonstrated in a modest undesignated fund balance, a conservative operating budget, and a diversified tax base. Among our town’s many assets are a rich history, our schools and university, our hospital, a thriving business community, places of worship, farms and forests, and most importantly the character of our citizens, which will help to see us through challenging times.

We hope that you take advantage of the wealth of information compiled in the pages of the Annual Report as assembled by municipal staff and the report committee. We also urge you to come to Town Meeting 7 p.m. on Monday, March 9 at the Community Center, fully informed and ready to engage in that great remaining act of American Democracy.

Sincerely,

Farmington Board of Selectmen

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