FARMINGTON — Townspeople passed $5.4 million in requested budget items during Monday’s annual town meeting but overwhelmingly rejected a building code ordinance.

Moderator Paul Mills stepped down from his role to speak in opposition to the ordinance.

The ordinance proposes to help maintain more accurate records of building activity for code enforcement and assessing. It would not allow a resident to move anything a single inch without applying for a permit and paying a fee, Mills said.

He pointed out issues that were not well defined, including time constraints for securing a permit after construction was started. 

Jon Bubier also opposed the article, saying it was overreaching and would not allow a homeowner to do anything without a permit. He questioned giving the town more control over property and suggested tabling the ordinance.

“We thought the timing and fees were reasonable, but I guess not,” Steve Kaiser, code enforcement officer, said. “We were trying to do what we thought was good for the town.”

A Fire and Life-Safety Ordinance and a revision of the town ‘s Comprehensive Plan were approved.

Voters passed requested budgets for most town departments with few questions, but a $200,000 increase for Public Works raised comments. 

When the department had an overdraft last year, Board of Selectmen Chairman Ryan Morgan said he told the department to come back with a budget that would allow them to do the job they need to do.

The proposed budget includes hiring two full-time employees, bringing the total to 10. The number was decreased to eight in 2006.

“If we could stay ahead on our roads maybe we could save,” Morgan said.

While the Board of Selectmen and the Budget Committee recommended cutting back to $150,000 on the capital improvement program for roads, Porter Hill resident Willard Hatch wanted to increase the $233,000 requested to $333,000. Porter Hill Road is on the list for work this year.

Voters did not agree to his increase but wanted to ensure more road work was done. They approved the $233,000 requested.

Some voters voiced concerns about the amount of budget requests.

“These increases are unsustainable,” Peter Tracy said. “I’m not sure I can retire here and live in my house.”

Voters also agreed to fund Farmington Public Library’s request of $146,666.

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