FARMINGTON — Department heads shared explanations for their proposed 2020 budget requests with Selectmen Tuesday, Jan. 7.

Many departments showed flat or decreased budgets. A 2% cost of living adjustment is included for most departments.

Most of the increase comes from the Fire Rescue Department’s proposal to add two full-time firefighters and a per diem for 24-hour coverage.

Other increases come from debt service, recycling and treasurer/town clerk.

Debt service is up $56,956 and includes the first payment for the firetruck purchase voters approved in November. $500,000 was borrowed with the remainder coming from the firetruck reserve account.

Town Manager Richard Davis said the recycling budget is up $31,556 or 31.35% with most of the increase coming from the contract with Archie’s, Inc.

“The $30,000 for this year is only three-quarters of a year,” Davis said. “It will increase another $10,000 next year. We’re locked in for $40,000 for the next three years.”

When asked about fees, Davis said they are competitive.

“We’re still in a good position not to have to increase those,” he said.

The treasurer/town clerk line was increased $21,812 or 8.31%. $3,500 was added for legal services to help with several small claims court cases that will be filed this year. Four desktop computers also need to be replaced at an estimated cost of $2,750.

Treasurer LucyAnn Cook said the computers use Office Suite 7 which is no longer supported.

“We’re running really old computers,” she said. “We’re having problems with them lagging in time, crashing. They’ve far exceeded their five years of life.”

Parks and Recreation Director Matthew Foster said most of the increase in his department is due to the increase in minimum wage and health insurance.

“Most of my staff is minimum wage,” he said. “I’m asking for new programming during school breaks for kids.”

Foster will be looking at various options to replace a truck such as state auctions and lease to purchase programs.

“It’s hard to ask for a lot,” he said. “People look at the percentages and dollar increases. There are ways to make it work.”

Selectman Matthew Smith said, “A lot of people don’t see the programs. Don’t know how much better we are as a community because we have those programs.”

Regarding the municipal building Davis said there was no project that could be afforded this year so he decreased the land and building line. The total budget for the building is down$11,787 or 13.89%

Selectman Michael Fogg moved to increase the reserve account by $5,000.

“It’s always good to have a healthy reserve account,” Davis said. “This building is a fortress but it’s 42 years old. You never know when something is going to fail.”

Smith said he is all for reserve accounts but couldn’t support the idea now.

“It will hurt the overall budget,” he said.

There was no second for the motion.



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