FARMINGTON – Five articles for a special town meeting on June 23 will come under review at Tuesday’s meeting of the Board of Selectmen, said Town Manager Richard Davis.

One article asks voters to revisit a decision not to fund the Abused Women’s Advocacy Project as determined at the March town meeting.

Nearly a dozen concerned citizens appeared before the board last week to present a petition signed by more than 400 residents asking for the board to hold the special meeting, said petition organizer Patti Millette. A total of 361 signatures was needed.

Millette started the petition because voters at town meeting didn’t appear “to care enough about other people who can’t advocate for themselves and often are in desperate situations,” she said Tuesday.

Millette’s petition asks selectmen to hold a special meeting at which people could vote on reinstating the $5,000 funding for the agency. It’s support that the town has contributed for 25 years, she said.

Millette enlisted Assistant District Attorney Andrew Robinson to join her as a spokesman at the meeting.

During the March meeting, questions about the agency and its work could not be answered because there was no one from the agency there to address them, Executive Director Kate WilliamsPalmer said. She felt that influenced voters to decide not to fund the organization even with a reduced amount.

After WilliamsPalmer received a letter from the town stating the organization would receive zero funding and the selectmen and Budget Committee were not receiving presentations from organizations, she figured it was a done deal and didn’t go to the town meeting or send anyone to represent AWAP.

While some selectmen expressed concern about the organization’s administrative costs, the agency provides direct services to clients meaning the personnel line is one of the largest expenses, she said. Administrative costs are held at about 11 percent, which is lower than other comparable agencies.

“We do try to keep costs down,” WilliamsPalmer said. The amount contributed by the town and surrounding towns help keep the office in Farmington open and help the agency provide support groups.

The agency has seen an increase in need under the current economy, especially in terms of finding permanent housing and helping women and families who have experienced domestic violence, she said.

“Those who come in to our shelter are staying longer and needing additional services,” she said.

The warrant for the special town meeting planned for 7 p.m. at the Community Center also includes articles asking the town to approve shoreland zoning amendments, to allow town employees to serve on the Budget Committee, to approve bonds for sewer projects and to authorize selectmen to exchange property with Jon and Lois Bubier.



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