FARMINGTON —  Selectmen on Tuesday evening unanimously approved holding the 2021 annual town meeting by referendum at the polls.

Town Manager Richard Davis said another option would be holding the meeting outside.

Farmington typically holds its town meeting in late March.

Last year’s meeting was to be held March 30 but postponed indefinitely because of the governor’s Stay at Home Executive Order to limit the spread of COVID-19. Changes made at the June 9 board meeting brought the 2020 budget to $770 less than the 2019 spending plan. Taxes were committed based on the 2019 budget, which made canceling the town meeting possible.

The weather in March and April can be uncertain, Davis said.

A public hearing would need to be held prior to a referendum, he said.

Selectman Michael Fogg asked what other towns were doing.

“Wilton held it outside,” Davis said.

Selectman Joshua Bell asked about the possibility of using a bigger building.

No more than 100 people can attend a public gathering, Davis said.

There could be 50 people upstairs and 50 people downstairs at the community center, using a video system, he said.

“If more show up, I’m not sure what we could do,” Davis said.

A public hearing would give people an opportunity to ask questions, Bell said.

Public hearings typically don’t get large attendance, Davis said. The town report would be available, he added.

“This is an atypical year,” Selectman Chairman Matthew Smith said.

The town meeting would be held in April because time is needed to look into holding it by referendum at the polls, Davis said prior to the vote.

In other business, the board:

• Approved transferring $759 in criminal forfeiture assets from a drug overdose investigation to the Police Department’s education and equipment reserve account.

• Approved spending $12,740 from the sewer department equipment/vehicle reserve account to replace  a switch on the emergency power generator at the wastewater treatment plant.

• Approved holding over $4,000 from 2020 in the Community Center land and property line.

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