FARMINGTON —  Tuesday night, Jan. 12, selectmen unanimously approved holding the 2021 annual town meeting by referendum vote.

Town Manager Richard Davis said there were a couple of options, either hold the town meeting outside or by referendum.

Farmington typically holds town meeting in late March.

No town meeting was held in 2020. The 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, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.

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 it possible to cancel the town meeting.

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

A public hearing would need to be held prior to a referendum vote, 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 as time is needed to look into holding it by referendum, Davis said prior to the vote.

Selectmen approved spending $12,740 from the sewer department equipment/vehicle reserve account to replace a generator transfer switch at the wastewater treatment plant.

“The transfer switch is located in our plant generator building at the Treatment Plant. The function of this switch is to switch CMP line power to generator power when the line power from CMP goes out,” Supervisor Stephen Millett wrote in a Jan. 8 email. “When the line power goes out, the plant generator automatically starts the transfer switch and switches line power to generator power so critical systems can still operate when the CMP power is lost.”

The current transfer switch has been repaired a few times over the years, the switch is now obsolete and repair parts can no longer be obtained, he wrote.

“We also have been experiencing problems with the switch transferring back to line power for all of the various equipment that is tied into these panels,” Millett wrote. “The current switch does not have a time delay when it transfers back to line (CMP) power which ends up tripping some of the disconnect switches off during transfer. This is due to the  fact that some of our motors are still spinning to a stop after the power goes off, sending current back to the feed side of the disconnect switch.

“When CMP power comes back on,” he continued, “the transfer switch in the generator building again automatically transfers power back to the CMP side of the transfer switch and out to all the equipment running that was being run by the generator. This causes a problem in the individual equipment disconnect switches as they now have power coming from both directions; in from the CMP side and back from the feed side as a result of the motors still spinning freely. This causes the disconnect for that piece of equipment to trip or fault.”

The new transfer switch we are hoping to install has a programmable delay that can be set from 3 seconds to 30 or more minutes between the time  the generator stops and CMP power is reestablished, Millett wrote.

“This would prevent the circuits from tripping and allow for a smooth power transition between the two power sources,” he noted.

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 holding over $4,000 from 2020 in the Community Center land and property line. Parks and Recreation Director Matthew Foster wrote in an email to Davis Jan. 4 that it was difficult to secure contractors to do work needed on doors.




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