Board gives Saturday town meeting one more try

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FARMINGTON — They didn’t agree about holding the annual town meeting on Saturday next year but selectmen voted 3 to 2 last week to give it one more try.

For the first time since the town’s initial meeting in 1794, the annual town meeting was held on the third Saturday of March. It was experimental, a change aimed at boosting attendance at town meeting.

While opinions varied from “wasn’t exhausted at the end of the meeting,” to “was disappointed it wasn’t a bigger turnout,” Selectman Ryan Morgan told the board basing a decision on a one-year try wasn’t good.

He suggested they try it a second year and if the numbers didn’t improve, “then you get my vote” to return to Monday night.

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Selectman Drew Hufnagel agreed saying, “you have to give change a chance,” urging the board to try one more time but to give the meeting more promotion next year.

“The wheel wasn’t broken. Why try to fix it?” questioned Selectman Jon Bubier, who had previously moved for a return to Monday night. A move that was voted down, two for and three against.

Board Chair Stephan Bunker agreed with the motion to try another year and the meeting was set for March 19, 2011 with town voting held the day before.

In other business, the board also approved the 2010 sewer budget, one up nearly $20,000 from last year partially due to a reduction in usage. The increase on this year’s total budget request of $1.2 million includes increased debt for projects undertaken at the facility, increases in health insurances and utilities.

The board also set residential sewer rates at $38.34 per first 500 cubic feet and $7.67 per 100 cubic foot thereafter, and commercial rates at $49.63 per first 500 cubic feet and $9.93 per cubic foot thereafter.

A request for the board to adopt a resolution to stop illegal paper subsidies and dumping by Ron Hemingway, representing workers from New Page in Rumford, was approved and signed.

“We’re not asking for money, excessive time or added duties to the town or selectmen,” Hemingway told the board. He was asking the town to join other area towns that have already signed similar resolutions “affirming a commitment to the importance of manufacturing to the local economy and the country, expressing support for strong enforcement of our trade laws, and expressing support for the domestic coated paper industry and its workers who have been injured by unfair trade practices by foreign producers.”

abryant@sunjournal.com

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