FARMINGTON — The budget committee and board of selectmen this week will consider a $6.1 million municipal budget, a 5.5 percent increase over the current budget that also includes 2.54 percent raises for non-union employees.

The budget committee meets Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. while selectmen will meet Thursday at 6:30 p.m. Both meetings are at the town office.

If the budget is approved, it will then head to residents for final approval at the Town Meeting on March 25.

“We’ve made every attempt to hold down expenses,” said Farmington Town Manager Richard Davis. “The increases are largely driven by personnel services costs and increases in the minimum wage causing upward pressure on other wages and compensation.”

In October, selectmen approved 2.54 percent raises for all non-union employees, a move Davis said was driven by increases in the minimum wage.

“(We proposed these raises) in order to create some separation between longtime employees and new employees who are starting at a higher minimum wage,” Davis said. “It had reverberations throughout the organization, and it’s not fair to have a new employee making $11 an hour and just 50 cents an hour less than someone who has worked for the town for years.”

The raises affect only non-unionized employees. Both the Police Department and Public Works Department are unionized.

Police department employees will see a raise of 1 percent plus $1 per hour, per their contract, Davis said. The town is still in negotiations with public works.

Other increases in the budget include a 25 percent increase in water usage and fire hydrant fees set by the Farmington Water Department, a separate entity from the town.

Davis said the department was issued a bond to build a new reservoir and that is the cause for the cost increase. For the town, the increase is $69,095 for a total cost of $345,475 for hydrant fees alone.

“It’s something the town has no control over,” he said.

The amount of money the town pays for legal services is also expected to triple — from $10,000 to $30,000 — after Davis said the town’s longtime attorney, Frank Underkuffler, retired and the town has opted to go with a new attorney, Amanda Meader out of Augusta.

Davis said it is too soon to say what the impact of the budget will be on taxes.

“It all depends on what we end up with for valuation and revenues, which we haven’t fully estimated yet,” he said. “I can’t really say.”

Rachel Ohm — 612-2368

[email protected]

Twitter: @rachel_ohm

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