Farmington voters approve three three adjustments to the proposed budget Monday during the annual Town Meeting. Above, residents vote in favor of approving an additional $98,730 to Public Works, which will allow two more staff hires and more road construction this summer. Pam Harnden/Livermore Falls Advertiser

FARMINGTON — Voters made three changes to proposed budget amounts Monday and approved all other articles during the annual Town Meeting.

Residents opted to increase budget lines for Public Works and general administration and reduce library funding, resulting in a net increase of $91,250 to the proposed spending plan.

The approved budget of $8.48 million is an 11.53% increase over the current spending plan of $7.6 million.

Budget Committee member Judith Murphy’s motion to raise and appropriate almost $1.6 million for Public Works was approved. During the budget process, the committee recommended adding $98,730 to the amount put forth by the Select Board. The additional funds would add three new staff to the department instead of one.

The Select Board agreed it was a better idea this year to try adding one new foreman to oversee new roadway construction, hire out snow removal downtown and adjust next year if needed, Select Board Chair Matthew Smith said.

Resident Dennis O’Neil said he attended the budget meetings and believed new staff would tie into additional road work in the summer. He asked Public Works Director Phil Hutchins to explain what new employees would do.


“Adding three people would give a separate full-time construction crew,” Hutchins said. “We are projected to have a heavy road building schedule.” High Street will be finished; Mosher Hill, Savage Road, Ramsdell Road and Christian Drive are on the schedule, he noted.

Three additional staff would allow the start of reconstruction on Weeks Mill, Bailey Hill, Davis and Holley roads, to get ahead of the town’s five-year road plan, Hutchins said.

“I can see both sides,” said Selectman Stephan Bunker, who lives on Bailey Hill Road.

“We are first on the list for Pike Industries to do our paving. It’s probably going to be a project larger than we have had in the last decade or more,” he noted. “The fly in the ointment is, in order to get Pike Industries to come over Bailey Hill there are many places that need to be rebuilt.”

Crews need to replace culverts, and ditching and shoulder work needs to be done first, Bunker said. “It’s a toss up on how moderate or aggressive you would like to be,” he added.

The roads are getting worse and the longer they are pushed out, the more money that will be required to repair them, Murphy stated.


With current staffing, 26,000 linear feet of roads can be done, Hutchins said. Adding one foreman would yield about 33,000 linear feet, and the town would get about 56,000 linear feet with three new staff, he added.

Currently, no one is available to take the place of someone who is out, which is a safety issue, according to Jim Kiernan, Public Works operations foreman. Staff are working 16 hours, sometimes more (snowplowing), he added.

Residents say they would like to see their road fixed, and people his age have lived with putting off doing roads until next year, said Clyde Ross, a member of the Budget Committee. “Tonight is an opportunity for you people, for this to be next year,” he added.

Voters approved adding $800 to general administration after Sally Speich, who serves on the Conservation Commission, pointed out the town warrant didn’t include it.

Also approved was an amendment by Barbara Marshall, president of the Farmington Public Library’s board of trustees, to decrease the library budget by $8,280. In the fall, the library had requested $248,870, but since then, Marshall said, the price of oil has gone down and the library’s stocks are doing better.

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