FARMINGTON — The Board of Selectmen will recommend voters cut the library and road work budgets at the annual Town Meeting.

The board will recommend an overall $5.25 million budget for town operations, an increase of 4.5 percent over the previous year. Voters will consider the selectmen’s proposed budget and the town budget committee’s recommendation at the annual Town Meeting March 23.

The selectmen were originally presented with budget proposals totaling $5.4 million, up 7.1 percent from last year.

While reviewing the budget requests Tuesday night, Selectman Michael Fogg made the recommendation to cut the Farmington Public Library’s budget after he saw line item requests in their budget that he considered excessive, such as the amounts requested for printer ink and paper, heating oil and refreshments.

He proposed decreasing the library’s budget from $146,666 to $138,666.

Chairman Ryan Morgan said he has repeatedly felt the library’s annual budget should be cut because it is not a town department but a nonprofit that contracts with the town.

“We’re asking our department heads to hold the line or cut the budget,” said Morgan.

The library’s $146,666 request represented a 2 percent increase from the previous year. The money pays for part of the total $246,277 library budget. In a letter to the town, the library staff stated the increase represents cost-of-living increases and pay changes.

Other cuts were made to requests for the town’s five-year road work plan after town officials discussed whether years of deferred maintenance and decreased state funds would force tax increases to pay for road repairs.

The five year road work plan would be entering its third year this spring, and the schedule calls for spending $148,315 to rebuild the Porter Hill Road.

The work is paid for in part by the state and in part by the town, though the state funding would be cut by $14,676 this year. The road budget also proposed raising the town’s portion from $133,000 to $233,000 to help pay for projects such as the costly rebuild of Porter Hill Road.

Selectman Josh Bell recommended cutting the town’s contribution to the project from $233,000 to $150,000. Bell said he recognized how badly the roads in town needed work, but said raising the full $233,000 would put too much of a burden on taxpayers.

Town Manager Richard Davis noted that rebuilding Porter Hill Road may already take two years to complete, and if the work is not funded, the job could take another year.

“This amount doesn’t even accomplish even half of that road,” said Davis. He said the town gets frequent complaints from residents on dilapidated roads who say they don’t want to wait any longer for the fixes.

The town’s road work schedule also calls for $74,000 to rebuild Upper Bailey Hill to the New Sharon town line, $102,625 for a one-inch overlay to protect the newly rebuilt Morrison Hill Road, and $65,860 to rehabilitate Temple Road from Town Farm Road to the Maine Department of Transportation compact line.

Kaitlin Schroeder — 861-9252

[email protected]

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