FARMINGTON — Voters at a special town meeting Tuesday night approved purchasing land next to the Public Works facility and a new firetruck to replace Engine 2 .

They removed the article seeking amendments to the Zoning Ordinance and voted not to fund liability insurance costs.

Ordinance changes require public hearings by the Planning Board and Zoning Board, Selectman Byron Staples said. The Zoning Board hearing was held but the Planning Board’s was not, he noted.

The amendments would have added definitions and other details regarding homeless shelters. A hearing scheduled Monday was canceled last week.

“My understanding is that there was a missed meeting by the Planning Board and this needs to go before the Planning Board before it comes back to a town meeting at some future date,” resident Dennis O’Neil said. “With all due respect, somebody wasn’t smart enough to figure that out ahead of time.”

Voters appropriated a sum not to exceed $50,000 to purchase 22 acres next to the Public Works facility. The estimated purchase price is $44,000 plus fees and expenses.


Asked for an explanation by resident Peter Tracy, Public Works Director Philip Hutchins said space is needed to stockpile materials. “Our stock yard is actually our snow dump,” which is 1.06 acres, he said. “This would provide an opportunity to stockpile aggregates, gravel.

“As we increase our road schedule we are going to have to pursue doing everything we can to have aggregates on hand. This is a great opportunity to stockpile,” he said.

Tracy said $2,000 an acre was an exorbitant price for 22 acres with the back portion unusable.

“The property being immediately adjacent to Public Works provides a significant advantage for future storage of equipment and materials,” Town Manager Christian Waller said. “It is going to allow the town to be able to purchase aggregate materials in bulk and receive volume pricing.”

“I think this is a unique opportunity and $2,000 per acre is a fair asking price, especially in today’s market,” Waller added.

Voters also approved spending up to $850,000 from the unassigned fund balance to purchase a firetruck to replace Engine 2. The cost would increase about $51,000 if the order isn’t placed in October.


“We are in a unique opportunity to pay for this in full from the unassigned fund balance,” Selectman Stephan Bunker said. It will allow the town to take advantage of a $30,000 prepayment discount and avoid interest, he noted.

“This is a wise investment,” Bunker said. “Do it now because the prices are only going to go up. It will be 18-24 months before delivery.”

At their Oct. 11 meeting, selectmen agreed to fund the purchase from the unassigned fund balance. They decided not to use $125,000 from the Fire Department’s reserve account nor finance part of it. The town’s fund balance had $5.1 million with more than three months in reserve after this (expenditure), Waller said then.

“We are fortunate to be in this position,” Waller said Tuesday. “Every four to six months there is a 6% to 8% price increase on these apparatus. The time frame to obtain the product is stretching out as well.”

Not funding $40,000 for liability insurance coverage for the ensuing year was approved after it was announced the expense was part of the already approved sewer department budget.

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