FARMINGTON — Town Manager Christian Waller told selectmen Tuesday that he wants to get an early start on drafting the 2023 budget so there’s time for feedback from officials.

“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. He would like to include a 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, Waller said. Those could be reviewed at Select Board meetings and others as needed through mid-February. The proposed budget would then be sent to the Budget Committee for any recommendations before going back to selectmen.

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.

A 20-year Capital Improvement Plan, proposed at the Aug. 9 meeting is being developed to help the budget process and separate needs from wants.


It’s “an easy way of being able to look at, by department or town, the capital needs each year,” he said at the time. It provides for prioritization, separates wants and needs.”

A Capital Improvement Plan is prudent for thinking about projects further down the road, said Marc Roy, 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 plan is envisioned as a living document that can be changed, Waller said. He wants the public engaged in the process and invited to selectmen meetings.

“When I first came on the board we had a wish list similar to that, it wasn’t as detailed,” Chairman Matthew Smith said. The plan would help explain the pressures the board faces and items that are coming up, he noted.

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

When the budget is being developed, spreadsheets include the budget and actual amounts spent for the current year for comparison with the proposed amounts. Including information from two years ago would give a bit more information for someone new coming in, Selectman Joshua Bell suggested.


Including similar figures from two years ago would affect the layout of the spreadsheet, adding just actual expenditures could be done on the same page, Roy said.

The board by consensus agreed to that format.

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

That information can pretty easily be provided separately, 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 with $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 tax 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 would make the rate $18.09 per $1,000 valuation.

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

The town’s assessed value rose by $54 million this year, Roy noted.


Money put into the TIF must be used for special projects only, Roy said. At the end of the year any overlay not used goes back into the undesignated fund balance, he noted.

It is anticipated the 2022 tax rate will be set at $18.05 per $1,000 valuation with an overlay of $40,700, Waller said Thursday.

In other business, a special town meeting is set for 6:30 p.m. Oct. 3 in the downstairs conference room at the municipal building. Voters will consider two purchases — land abutting Public Works and a firetruck to replace Engine 2.

Selectmen in July voted to begin looking at purchasing a firetruck.

Before July, the price of the truck they were looking at was $850,000.

Waller said there will be a price change Nov. 1, but the amount was not mentioned.

The town didn’t receive the grant it applied for, in part because the average age of the fleet is fairly new, other than the 1995 Engine 2, he added.

The contract needs to be signed before Nov. 1, Farmington Fire Rescue Chief TD Hardy said.

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