Farmington board takes first look at 2013 budget, road repair plan

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FARMINGTON — Selectmen’s first review of the proposed town budget included an explanation of a capital road plan suggested by the Transportation Advisory Committee.

The committee is proposing a five-year plan in which some roads will be totally rebuilt and smaller projects will help keep roads in good condition, Public Works Director Denis Castonguay said Tuesday.

A survey done in 2010 recognized Voter Hill, Morrison Hill, Porter Hill and Titcomb Hill roads, and Mohawk, Seminole and Shawnee drives as needing total reconstruction, he said.

State Urban Rural Initiative Program money has basically been the only source of funding for road construction and paving. Last year the town received $173,000 in URIP funds but it’s not enough to do the backlog of road work needed, Castonguay told selectmen.

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“It’s going to cost money. It’s not going to get better or be less expensive,” he said.

Even road surface costs have about doubled — from $43 a ton to $82 a ton for paving material, he said.

In a separate article on the warrant, taxpayers will consider raising $133,000 this year to begin the work of the plan. The amounts for the following years are $226,000 in 2014, $255,000 in 2015, $262,000 in 2016 and $255,000 in 2017, he said.

The URIP funds could be used for debt service if the amounts needed for roadwork are borrowed over 10 years.

“We can’t do all the roads but it’s a beginning,” he said. The plan proposes maintaining the roads from there.

Department heads reviewed highlights of their budget requests before selectmen. Total budget requests amount to $4,795,941, an increase of $145,007 or 3.12 percent from the amount appropriated last year.

Each department’s budget includes a 2.55 cost-of-living raise for employees based on three-year bargaining agreements previously approved by selectmen, Town Manager Richard Davis said. There is also a 7.5 percent increase in health insurance costs, although employees pay a portion of the costs.

The town’s debt service rose this year to $162,453, an increase of $56,482 because of the amount needed for the new police station.

Although most departments tried to keep a minimal increase or in some cases showed a decrease from last year’s budget, some requested budget items included: an increase for General Assistance from $15,000 to $25,000 to meet the requests for help, and a request of $14,816 for Sandy River Recycling, an increase of $3,882 or 35.5 percent over last year.

Police Department officials want to start a reserve fund with $6,000 for computers. Proposed decreases bring that department’s requests to a total of $1,180,128, an increase of $19,051 over last year.

abryant@sunjournal.com

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