The proposed Farmingdale town budget going to residents Saturday is less than 2 percent greater than the budget approved last year, but the school budget approved Tuesday is still expected to increase taxes in the town by around 4 percent.

Although the $1.5 million town budget is only around $28,000 higher than the current budget, there are a couple of potential changes Farmingdale residents will vote on at the Town Meeting. The warrant asks whether residents want to switch from the city of Gardiner’s emergency service to a nonprofit ambulance provider and whether residents want the town to rejoin Gardiner Public Library for $4,500.

The meeting is scheduled for 1 p.m. Saturday at the Hall-Dale High School theater.

Two proposals for new ordinances also are on the warrant. One would expand what changeable signs along the road are allowed to do to comply with what the state allows. The other would allow the town to bill people for the cost of cleaning up debris they put in the road, specifically in response to people pushing snow onto roads, Selectman James Grant said.

Grant said the town’s proposed budget alone probably wouldn’t have caused the town’s tax rate to increase, but the school budget will increase the rate.

“We’re trying to keep the taxes down,” he said. “We’re trying to budget as close to what we actually need.”


Grant said the town is asking residents which ambulance provider to choose because the town must go out to bid for costs over $5,000. Typically, the selectmen select contractors, but Grant said the board didn’t make a recommendation for an ambulance provider. He said he would be comfortable with either provider.

Gardiner’s ambulance service, which serves eight communities in the region, is requesting about $35,000, up from a $25,000 request last year. Delta Ambulance, a nonprofit organization with bases in Augusta and Waterville, has offered to provide ambulance service free.

Delta Ambulance offered to provide emergency service to Farmingdale a year ago for no charge, but the selectmen decided to stick with Gardiner because of concerns that the quality of the service could decline and response times could increase.

Grant said the response times of the two services would be comparable.

Residents also will be asked whether they want to rejoin another Gardiner service, the Gardiner Public Library, which they left in 2009. The town instead has been reimbursing its residents for membership fees at any library, but Gardiner city councilors voted last year to ban new cards for anyone not from the five communities that pay to be members of the service.

Anne Davis, the library’s director, said the city offered a lower rate to Farmingdale as part of a two-year trial to see if the town wants to continue being a member. She said the library had to turn away people from Farmingdale who were seeking new library cards, because of the city’s moratorium on new cards from outside communities.


“Politics aside, no librarian likes to say, ‘No, you can’t check out a book.’ It’s just heartbreaking,” she said.

Other communities pay $17,000 to $35,000 to be members of the library based on their past circulation numbers, Davis said. If Farmingdale joins for the two-year trial period, the rate probably would increase above the $4,500 after the two years, she said.

“If the town uses the library a lot, the portion they will owe the city of Gardiner will increase,” Davis said. “It’s one of those things we need to not give away, city services.”

Paul Koenig — 621-5663

[email protected]

Twitter: @pdkoenig

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