FARMINGTON — Selectmen on Tuesday night approved the 2023 sewer budget and increased this year’s sewer rates for the first time since 2018.

The new rate is $48 for a minimum of 500 cubic feet per quarter and $9.60 per 100 cubic feet thereafter. That is a 20.3% increase from last year’s minimum of $39.90 for 500 cubic feet per quarter and $7.98 per 100 cubic feet thereafter.

“There have been several years with no rate increases, it should have gone up five years ago,” sewer clerk Mavis Gensel said. “When the money we are bringing in is less than the budget, it doesn’t work.”

Selectmen approved the 2023 sewer budget of $1.24 million, which is $135,233, or 12.2% more than last year’s $1.11 million. Most of the increase, $98,539, is for sludge disposal.

“It’s not pretty this year, the last couple years have been hard on everything,” said Stephen Millett, wastewater/sewer superintendent. Costs for everything have gone up, he noted.

Selectman Stephan Bunker asked what items were significantly different from last year.


Farmington has a contract with Casella Waste Systems through 2025 to take the town’s biosolids and has raised the prices twice in the past 18 months, Millett said.

Biosolids can’t be composted, landfills have been shut off and they are now being shipped out-of-state, he said. The average price per month has risen from between $4,000 and $6,000 per month to between $11,000 and $14,000 per month for biosolid disposal, he said.

In other business, selectmen granted permission for the Farmington Historical Society to use a potential grant to construct a trail around Riverside Cemetery.

The society is submitting an application to the Onion Foundation, which created an Equitable Outdoor Access grant this year to get Maine people with disabilities engaged in community group activities, President Jane Woodman said. Two interior roads will be upgraded and a wheelchair-friendly parking area created at no cost to the town, she noted.

The amount received will determine how far along Route 2 the road upgrades will go, Woodman said.

E.L. Vining has offered to scrape off the grassy areas in the middle of the roads and install 4 inches of crusher dust for $20,658. An additional 4-inch gravel base would cost $12,375, she said.


Deb Probert, who has been involved with cemetery preservation efforts, is helping write the grant application, Woodman said.

Selectman Joshua Bell asked if Phil Hutchins from Public Works had been contacted about the grant.

Hutchins said his only concern is the type of grant. A private grant is easier to work with, he said.

The trail will create equitable outdoor access for families, caretakers, educators and others to enjoy the environment and learn about the early settlers of Farmington, its war veterans and nature, Woodman said.

“It will be a nice improvement,” board Chairman Matthew Smith said.

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