FARMINGTON — Voters will go to the polls Monday to decide on a budget that’s 12% more than last year but is not expected to result in a tax increase.

The almost $6.85 million budget is up 12.1% with most of the increase coming from workers’ compensation adjustments as a result of the 2016 explosion of the LEAP Building on Farmington Falls Road.

“While this budget is up, it gives me a great deal of comfort to say there is absolutely no reason for it to result in a tax increase this year,” Town Manager Richard Davis said during an April 13 meeting on the referendum. “Despite the pandemic, the town’s revenues remain strong. We added more than $600,000 to the unassigned fund balance, which now stands at more than $3 million.”

Voters will consider two articles on accepting money for the Walton’s Mill Dam project and one on discontinuing a road to winter maintenance.

In November 2018, voters approved the $1.2 million Walton’s Mill Dam project. In 2017, a fish passage study was approved. The project includes removal of the dam, new lawn space in Walton’s Mill Pond Park, trail improvements, an expanded parking lot, public restrooms and a pavilion. Federal and state financing agreements plus an agreement to protect the property from uses other than conservation are being sought.

Stinchfield Road, a 750-foot loop off Route 4, north of the Fairbanks bridge, serves one residence. The new owner has requested the road be discontinued. He plans to gate each end and maintain it, Davis said previously.

Resolutions to reverse the county’s policy on not funding economic development/social services agencies and one on carbon cash-back pricing will also be considered.

In 2017, Franklin county commissioners eliminated or reduced funding for nonprofits and social service agencies that had traditionally been funded.

In February, two of three selectmen present at a board meeting voted to include the climate change resolution on the April 26 annual town meeting warrant. Selectmen were deadlocked on the issue when it was presented Jan. 26.

At the March 22 Chesterville Town Meeting, a similar article found 16 in support and 26 opposed.

The grassroots effort to add the Carbon Cash Back resolution on town meeting warrants, a move supported by the national nonprofit Citizens’ Climate Lobby, has taken off throughout Franklin County. If the article is adopted by voters, the resolution would require the towns’ selectpersons to send letters of support for nationwide carbon-pricing legislation to federal and state representatives.

Selectmen approved holding the town meeting referendum at the polls because of COVID-19 pandemic restrictions.

Polls will be open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday at the Community Center 127 Middle St. Absentee ballots are available by calling the Town Office at 778-6539 or emailing the Town Clerk to request an application. More information is available on the town website’s Voting and Registration page. A sample ballot is available on the Advisories and Notices page.

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