FARMINGTON — Selectmen unanimously voted Tuesday night once again not to give voters the option to give town money to certain nonprofits at the annual Town Meeting in March.

After considering a letter from the American Red Cross to have a $1,200 request considered by Farmington voters, several board members repeated sentiments from last year and said they felt the nonprofits should ask for money in one request at the county level instead of going to the individual towns.

Town Manager Richard Davis said they sometimes receive dozens of requests from agencies in a year, and one of the reasons for not listing the nonprofits on the warrant was that it seemed unfair to pick some to present to voters while excluding others.

“The decision was made to include nobody,” he said.

Selectman Stephan Bunker said as a member of the Fire Department, he sees the Red Cross give aid to families that have lost their homes in fires, but said he felt the countywide service should make a request from the county government.

He noted that in the past, the Red Cross has not gone to the Franklin County government after being turned down by municipalities.

“If (residents) feel strongly about that, they can make their own contributions,” he said.

Selectman Michael Fogg said he could see why the town would have an interest in giving money to the Red Cross, but he concurred with the rest of the board in voting down the request and referring the agency to the county.

“What they do is fantastic, but I understand why you guys don’t,” he said.

Last year was the first year the option was not listed on the list of questions at the March business meeting. Selectmen voted 3-2 to remove the option of voting on whether to fund the nonprofits at the annual Town Meeting. The two selectmen who voted against removing the option are no longer on the board.

Selectmen at the time were divided in part because of philosophical differences about whether taxpayers should be compelled to support nongovernmental groups or whether the groups provide services that otherwise would be provided by the government if the organizations ceased to exist.

Kaitlin Schroeder — 861-9252

[email protected]

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