FARMINGTON — As town assessor, John O’Donnell set the property tax rate at $18.80 per $1,000 of assessed value Tuesday evening.
It’s an increase of $1.48 over last year.
The Board of Selectmen considered options presented by O’Donnell and unanimously directed him to include appropriations of $25,000 for overlay and $100,000 for the town’s two tax increment financing districts, the Franklin and Downtown TIF districts.
Being the first year as the town’s assessing agent, O’Donnell, from John E. O’Donnell Associates, suggested an approximate $50,000 overlay appropriation to cover any abatements necessary. The town could go with less, he said, but if the abatements go over the amount appropriated then it would have to come from the town’s undesignated balance fund as it has done in previous years.
Last year, the town appropriated $1,877 for overlay and needed $60,000 for abatements. O’Donnell said he considered that when he suggested the amount.
The board also considered keeping the $50,000 overlay amount while providing no funds for TIF, which would have kept the tax rate at $18.64.
No TIF funding would prolong the recently approved parking lot project on Church Street. Voters agreed to the project based on use of TIF funds.
The town is committed to the property purchase price of $79,000, leaving about $20,000 or less available, Town Manager Richard Davis said.
The house might be taken down and the property just filled with gravel this year if less funding was appropriated, but it could be at risk of drainage issues, which neighbors are concerned about, he said.
“There could be a sheet of mud flowing down Church Street,” he said.
The project was accepted by the public based on a timely development of usable parking spaces and in support of business development, Selectman Stephan Bunker said.
Chairman Joshua Bell also wanted to support the TIF Committee’s project while reducing the amount set aside for overlay.
O’Donnell suggested reducing the overlay to $25,000 and keeping the amount of $100,000 appropriated for the TIF.
Other appropriations considered within the tax rate include an increase of $31,466 for the amount appropriated for the county, a total of $498,836 this year; an increase of $318,000 for a total of $5.3 million appropriated for running the town and an increase of $397,000 for the town’s appropriation of $4.5 million to the school district, O’Donnell told the board.