FARMINGTON — Town Manager Christian Waller shared his thoughts on preparing the 2023 budget with Selectmen at the Tuesday, Sept. 13, meeting.

“In reviewing, looking at the last budget season I wanted to make sure we had an early start, plenty of time for collaboration and feedback,” Waller said. This year he would like to include obtaining vision or policy goals from the board to help guide the process, with comments due Oct. 11.

Department heads would submit their budgets by the beginning of the year, everyone receiving the information at the same time, Waller stated. Select Board meetings and additional meetings as needed through mid-February could be used to review those figures, he noted. The proposed budget would then be sent to the Budget Committee for any recommendations they might have, then it would go back to Selectmen for any further changes or acceptance, he stated.

Once the budget is finalized the warrant for the Town Meeting would be drafted, Waller added.

“I envision between each of these steps opportunity for leaders of groups to give feedback from the larger group they represent,” Waller said. Doing so could provide feedback, discussion and working together for the end result, he noted.

A Capital Improvement Plan, proposed at the Aug. 9 meeting could help mitigate peaks and valleys from capital expenses, Waller stressed. It would give a compass to look at, he noted, then pointed out the municipal building built in 1976 is something to think about.


There would be less fluctuating, would know on an annual basis what should be put aside, Waller said.

A Capital Improvement Plan is prudent for thinking about projects further down the road, Marc Roy said. Roy is an accountant with the firm hired to take over treasurer duties when LucyAnn Cook resigned. Five years is too short to plan, he noted.

The Capital Improvement Plan is envisioned as a living document that can be changed, Waller said. He wants the public engaged in the process, invited attendance at Selectmen meetings. The Plan would help the Board remember something is needed seven years down the road, keeps things under active consideration, he added.

“When I first came on the Board we had a wish list similar to that, it wasn’t as detailed,” Chair Matthew Smith said. It would help explain the pressures the Board faces, things that are coming up, he noted.

The plan could be evaluated annually, make sure it doesn’t disappear over time, Selectman Byron Staples stated.

“It really is important to think of those long term projects, update the plan every year,” Roy said.


The Capital Improvement Plan would target what the Board thinks is important for the town, Waller stated.

When the budget is being developed, data from the current year is available for comparison with the proposed amounts. Including actual expenditures from two years ago would give a bit more history, more information for someone new coming in, Selectman Joshua Bell suggested. Roy said that information could be provided.

If only actual expenses are included, how would one know which lines are over or under budget, resident Dennis O’Neil asked.

That information can pretty easily be provided, Waller said.

“I appreciate the Board being open, giving feedback,” Waller said. “The goal is to set expectations up front, how the process will work. It will make a much smoother process.” Having Roy available will make better use of resources, he added.

Previously the board set amounts for 2022 tax rates using $150,000 for the Downtown TIF account and an overlay of $40,000.


Roy provided three options:

• Using $0 for the TIF and $64,482.59 for overlay would result in a mil rate of $17.79 per $1,000 property valuation.

• Using $173,000 for the TIF [the maximum amount possible] and $61,625.09 for overlay yielded a mil rate of $18.09 per $1,000 valuation.

• Using $150,000 for the TIF and $62,536.44 for overlay gave a mil rate of $18.05 per $1,000 valuation.

There was a $54 million increase in assessed value this year, the solar farm has been completed, Roy noted.

Money put into the TIF can’t be used for daily expenses, is for special project funding only, Roy said. At the end of the year any overlay not used goes back into undesignated fund balance, he noted.

The lower overlay amount approved will affect the mil or tax rate. Roy said he would try to make the figure as close to the amount shared as possible. “It will be in the ball park,” he added.


Comments are not available on this story.