FARMINGTON — During a special meeting Thursday night, Feb. 24, selectmen voted to move the annual town meeting from April 25 to May 9.

Town Clerk Leanne Dickey told selectmen she needed 60 days notice if the meeting was going to be changed. “Tomorrow is the sixtieth day,” she said.

On Feb. 8 selectmen postponed the town meeting from March 28 to April 25. A late addition to that meeting’s agenda was reviewing and approving the March 28 warrant, however more time to review it was asked for.

Earlier in Thursday’s meeting selectmen voted 3-2 to postpone approving the warrant for the town meeting. Selectmen Joshua Bell, Stephan Bunker and Scott Landry were in favor with Selectmen Michael Fogg and Matthew Smith opposed.

Fogg and Landry were not at the regularly scheduled meeting Tuesday. The other selectmen wanted all five present to approve the warrant.

Resident Bill Crandall asked what the overall budget increase would be this year, then provided data showing there was a 50.67% increase in Farmington’s budget over a 10 year period starting in 1998. He thought the solar panels now surrounding his home would reduce taxes.


The increase is 24.6% this year, Smith said.

“That’s five years in one year (based on the data he provided),” Crandall said. “That’s my concern.”

Town Manager Christian Waller had a different budget which some department heads were unaware of, the whole budget process was confusing, Bell said. In prior years the board voted again after the budget went to the Budget Committee, he said.

“We’re approving the warrant from the numbers we approved,” Fogg said.

Resident Ryan Morgan said several people attended this meeting, some because of their concerns with the budget.

“In fairness to those here tonight, you do deserve an explanation,” Bunker said. “Our costs for municipal services have gone up each year.”


Four areas Bunker noted making this year’s budget considerably different are:

• How much Farmington is out of sync with what employees in similarly sized towns are paid.

• The condition of the Community Center roof.

• The condition of town roads.

• The need to replace another fire truck.

“The number one complaint of citizens is our roads,” Bunker said. Last year $300,000 was appropriated — even that wasn’t enough to keep up — we increased it to $650,000 to try to catch up, he noted.


“Inflation is hitting us pretty hard,” Landry said. “You have to figure that in. We’re in a good financial position.”

Over the last 25 years Farmington has tried to spread out replacement of fire trucks so no two are being paid for at any one time, Bunker said. Last year one had to be replaced out of order, another one now has issues, he noted.

“Whatever we do, we are not going to have a 5-0 vote,” Smith said. “Put it to the voters, let them argue it out.” A new system was used (with a new town manager), the board didn’t give enough guidance in what was wanted, expected, he noted.

Crandall emphasized Town Manager Christian Waller is welcome in Farmington, people weren’t against him.

Less than half of the overall increase in the budget is for raises, Waller said. The average for raises is 18.9% on top of the 7.3% cost of living adjustment, he noted, adding that the increase would have been 1.5%-2% if spread out over several years.

“The fix doesn’t have to come in one year,” Farmington business owner John Moore said. “Do it over time, in stages. I know the budget had to increase, did it have to be all or nothing?

“Compromise,” he suggested. “Have a couple more meetings. There’s time to really vet this, get more input.”

Informational meetings on the budget will be held prior to town meeting, Smith said. Some in attendance aren’t opposed to it, he noted.

“Give ourselves two weeks to do due diligence, get input from department heads and Budget Committee,” Bunker suggested. “There will be greater success of having it passed at town meeting.”

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