Monday, May 20, 2013
2013 Town Meetings
By Kaitlin Schroeder firstname.lastname@example.org
FARMINGTON — Voters approved a $4.9 million budget and elected Joshua Bell and incumbent Andrew Hufnagel selectman Monday night at the annual Town Meeting.
The new budget, up 5.8 percent from 2012, adds more money for road maintenance and $5,000 for a charity that both the Budget Committee and Board of Selectmen opposed.
Residents also voted 83–21 in support of increasing the property tax levy limit of slightly more than $3 million, in the event the approved budget exceeded the property tax levy limit.
Town officials estimate the property tax could increase this year by 3.6 percent, or $70 for a home assessed at $100,000, if municipal, county and school district budgets are passed as anticipated.
The current property tax rate is $16.60 per $1,000 of assessed value, or $1,660 for a home valued at $100,000. A town report estimated this year’s property tax rate will be $17.30 per $1,000 of assessed value.
The only contested races were for two selectman seats.
Budget Committee Chairman Joshua Bell and incumbent Andrew Hufnagel were elected, with 304 and 226 votes, respectively. Former selectman Jon Bubier and incumbent Stephan Bunker received 142 and 187 votes, respectively.
The town also passed $133,000 for road improvements, to be coupled with state funds for a five-year program to fix roads the town decided are most in need of repair, beginning with Voter Hill Road.
Town Manager Richard Davis said the town has not been able to keep up with road repair on state funds alone. The town received $173,000 last year in state funding, compared to $200,000 in 2007.
Bunker said the most frequent complaints selectmen receive are about the poor state of town roads. He said the additional money will help address the problem.
Additional road funding probably will cause a tax increase of $0.33 per $1,000 of valuation, or an additional $33 on a home assessed at $100,000, according to town officials.
The cost to rebuild a road is $162,000 per mile, Davis said.
The town also voted to allocate $5,000 to SAFE Voices, formerly known as the Abused Women’s Advocacy Project.
The Budget Committee and selectmen had recommended no money be allocated to the charitable organization. SAFE Voices requested $5,250. The two panels said some members had a philosophical disagreement about compelling taxpayers to fund charities.
About 100 voters turned out for the meeting at the Community Center on Middle Street.
Kaitlin Schroeder — 861-9252