FARMINGTON — On Nov. 28, selectmen set the cost of living adjustment at 3% for the coming year.

The percentage is needed during the upcoming budget process.

Interim Town Manager Stephen Eldridge said the New England Consumer Price Index for October was 3%, in November is 2.7% so it dropped a little bit.

“I see early estimates from Social Security is 3%,” Selectman Stephan Bunker noted.

The Maine retirement program for non-state workers is 3%, Eldridge said. For retired town managers it’s 2.8%, he added.

Traditionally Farmington has gone with the average, what the COLA has been, Selectman Dennis O’Neil said.


Selectman Joshua Bell noted it used to be the figure used was from October or November but one year it dropped down in November so the board switched to an average.

Bunker said he was glad to be having the conversation early to give the town manager and department heads the time they need.

Bell suggested determining an employee pay scale with more of a set structure for another year. With the COLA adjustment, the less an employee makes the less that increase will be, he said.

“I’ll take the mid range of all employees, come up with what the COLA amount would be for that salary,” Erica LaCroix, incoming town manager stated. “Then I will add that amount to everyone’s salary. It means your top paid people aren’t getting as much but it also means the bottom people are not getting left in the cold because they don’t make enough to get a big bump. Big is relative.”

The problem with the traditional COLA is that it favors more highly paid employees, LaCroix added.

In other business Eldridge said staff from the Municipal Building met with the Police Department’s active shooter training officer that morning to discuss security measures. The group that provides security for the schools were to visit Thursday morning to walk through some town buildings and share how to improve security, he noted. Contracting with that company for further work may be considered later by the board, he stated.

“One of the good things that we have done on our own is during the day we are going to keep this back door locked,” Eldridge said. “We’ll direct people to the front. If they need to see code enforcement they will go in the front and somebody will direct them downstairs.”

Staff has been talking about putting security lights on the back side of the building, Eldridge noted. “In the parking lot we have had some staff going out late at night and it is not very well lit,” he said. “It’s an easy fix. Public Works had just done something on their building, it cost them a couple hundred dollars. It’s a very inexpensive security measure.”

Selectman also approved renewal of the on-premises liquor license for Sodexo America, LLC. The company provides meal services for students at University of Maine at Farmington and other events on campus.

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