FARMINGDALE — Voters dealt rapidly with the town’s business Saturday at the annual Town Meeting held at Hall-Dale Middle School.

Each time moderator Mary Denison asked for a vote, about 50 people raised small cards indicating approval.

“You can tell it’s a sunny afternoon,” Denison said at one point. “This is the fastest town meeting I’ve been at.”

The meeting ended by about 2:15 p.m. after the 60-plus articles were handled.

Residents approved two new ordinances, one requiring certain new buildings to have a system that allows entry for emergency responders and one restricting certain sex offenders from moving to locations near the town’s schools.

Selectman David Sirois briefly described the Knox Rapid Entry Box ordinance as one requiring a small box containing a key to the front door to be mounted to a commercial building, saying it would save a store owner from having to replace the front door if the fire department has to smash it down to gain entry, for instance.

Voters added almost $11,000 to the proposed $43,850 fire protection budget after former Selectboard Chairman Douglas Ebert recommended it, saying it would pay for replacing a 25-year-old hose used by the fire department. Ebert is also an officer in the fire department.

“We shy away from testing it because it’s so old,” Fire Chief Dana Mealey said at the meeting. His message in the Annual Report says, “The rubber large diameter supply hose is now almost 25 years old and deteriorating. We are concerned that we will start to lose sections and having that happen at a fire scene is not acceptable.”

After the meeting, Mealey said the new hose will be lighter and easier to handle. He said the 4-inch diameter hose would be split between two trucks, with 1,100 feet of hose on each truck.

Voters also gave Chrysalis Place, the food bank in Gardiner used by Farmingdale residents, $3,000 rather than the $2,500 requested. Town Clerk Rose Webster said the food bank saves the town money in the general assistance budget.

Voters briefly debated a proposal to decrease the $11,900 proposed for cemetery upgrades and repairs. However, that was rejected after Angie Ellis, cemetery sexton, said the budget included some $6,000 for tree work by a licensed arborist from Farmingdale.

She said the work would repair damage done during the December ice storm “so that we don’t lose the trees.”

Most of the work, about $4,500, is to be done at Carter Cemetery on Hallowell-Litchfield Road, which was the most heavily damaged, she said. An additional $1,800 in work is planned for Maine Avenue Cemetery and $900 for Northern Avenue Cemetery.

In all, the municipal budget remained at just under $1.5 million, requiring some $30,000 more in property taxes to support it than the previous year. The current tax rate is $13.20 per $1,000 worth of property value.

A tax increase of 80 cents per $1,000 worth of property is expected because of increased school costs.

Nancy Frost, who was elected to the Board of Selectmen Friday, was sworn in following the election and sat with the other two selectmen for Saturday’s meeting.

Betty Adams — 621-5631

[email protected]

Twitter: @betadams


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