FARMINGTON — Selectmen and the Budget Committee began initial reviews of the town’s proposed annual budget this week.

With anticipated cuts in state revenues, department officials have tried to hold down their budget requests, Town Manager Richard Davis told the Budget Committee on Wednesday.

This year’s budget requests totaling $4,353,320 for municipal operations is $1,789 less than last year’s appropriated $4,355,109.

Salaries, wages and a health insurance increase underline the $10,042 overall increase for the Police Department, Chief Richard Caton told the committee. The budget also reflects decreases in gas, overtime and retirement costs.

Because the department was not up to full staff this year, Caton expects to return $57,000 from wages not used to the general funds and have about $13,000 left over in the gas account, he told the committee.

Committee members expressed concern about the costs of the turnover in employees within the department even though they felt Caton had done a lot to retain good people. Caton said the wages, including pay cuts and the fact that employees are now paying half of the higher costs for health insurance, are a part of the reasons for the turnover.

Some members of the board also expressed concern that no funds were designated for a building reserve account, something that voters appear not to be interested in in this economy.

“We can’t flat-line forever as we’ve done for a few years,” Davis said, while expressing his concern that he can’t prepare the town for future needs with similar budgets and no reserve funds added year after year.

Farmington Public Library is seeking a 4 percent increase over last year in its requested $122,708 for 2010. The increase reflects wage and health insurance costs.

A salary and wage decrease accounts for $3,202 less requested in this year’s budget for the Fire Department. The budget does include $1,071 for a supplemental insurance that would cover more than workers compensation, Chief Terry Bell explained. The insurance would cover the 27 members, except the chief, as well as auxiliary members, volunteers and any future junior firefighters.

Parks and Recreation, Public Works and Code Enforcement departments also realized decreases in initial budget requests over last year.

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