Wednesday, April 23, 2014
FARMINGTON — Selectmen on Tuesday adopted all recommendations proposed by the town budget committee, with the next step a vote March 18 at the annual Town Meeting.
The warrant article reflects a roughtly 3 percent increase over last year's $4.6 million budget.
Board member Ryan Morgan said he was concerned about increasing the general assistance fund from $15,000 to $25,000 when the town does not know how much it will receive in municipal revenue sharing until the Legislature acts on LePage's proposed budget cuts, including a proposed two-year hold on municipal revenue sharing.
Chairman Stephen Bunker said it is hard to predict how the town will be affected until the governor's budget is finalized.
"All towns are going on their best instincts with hopeful anticipation," Bunkers said.
Selectmen voted unanimously to approve the recommendation.
Selectman Andrew Hufnagel said he is concerned about a proposed 35 percent increase in recycling costs.
Town Manager Richard Davis said the increase is because Sandy River Recycling, which handles town recycling, has experienced a decrease in the price it receives per ton for recyclables, and it has lost recycling contracts with two other towns.
Hufnagel said the increase prompted him to research the benefits of switching to single-stream recycling. He said Wilton has been saving on recycling costs since switching from Sandy River Recycling to single-stream recycling.
Davis said he thinks the town should research alternative recycling options and consider touring other types of recycling facilities, such as a single-stream recycling facility, to see what the town's best option is.
"It's now crossed the threshold where it costs more to throw away than to recycle," he said.
However, Davis said he is concerned about the cost of buying a compactor required for a single-stream recycling.
"It will take some study to find the best route to go," he said.
The selectmen voted unanimously to approve the proposal for the increased recycling cost.
Hufnagel moved to not budget any town money towards the American Red Cross. The budget committee proposal budgeted $2,000 for the group.
He said he is not against the Red Cross but is against using the town's money to fund them.
"It's not the amount of money; it's philosophy behind it," he said.
Morgan agreed with Hufnagel and said the group should do more to raise money instead of requesting money from the town.
"I wish these were funded by the goodwill of donors instead," he said.
Bunker said the budget committee was also divided on whether to include the Red Cross in the budget, voting 7-2 to include it.
The selectmen voted 3-2 to include the recommendation in the town's proposed budget, with Morgan and Hufnagel voting against it.
Selectmen unanimously voted to support the recommendation to not include Safe Voices, formerly the Abused Women's Advocacy Project, in the budget.
The group requested $5,250 and received $5,000 in last year's budget.
Selectmen Dennis Pike noted that the town continually overturns the selectmen's recommendation not to fund the group.
Kaitlin Schroeder -- 861-9252