FAIRFIELD — Residents Monday approved spending for recycling and a large trash pick-up event as well as an increase in spending for the Fairfield Police Department at the annual Town Meeting.

All three items were approved as part of an overall $5.48 million municipal budget that includes a less than 1% increase in the amount of money to be raised by taxation.

The large trash pick-up item, at $20,000, as well as the recycling, at a cost of $14,400, were both approved by about 65 people who gathered for the meeting at the Fairfield Community Center.

Those two items also represented the bulk of a difference in budget proposals from the town council and budget committee. Town Council Chair Aaron Rowden said the differences were purposely presented to give residents a choice.

A handful of people spoke on both sides of the spring clean-up issue, an annual week where residents can put out up to 10 large trash items for pick-up and disposal.

“When I moved to this town, the clean-up was not only on a much larger scale but much more necessary,” said resident George Hofgren. “There were a lot of households and businesses being cleaned out. Now it seems like it’s just token things people are putting out. I’m not sure it’s really necessary.”

Resident Bill Bois said he supports the spring clean-up.

“All you have to do is drive around the town right now, and you’ll see the bulk stuff people have no way of getting rid of,” Bois said. “I think it’s a very valuable service.”

Residents also approved a roughly $170,000 increase to the police department budget on Monday, about $98,000 of which comes from the cost for a new Maine Drug Enforcement Agency agent that will be reimbursed by the state.

Police Chief Tom Gould said there are two retirements in the department that also attribute to the cost increase.

There are five retirements across departments in the town, according to Town Manager Michelle Flewelling, who said the retirements will factor into costs across the board.

“What happens is insurance benefits are usually at a single level,” Flewelling said. “In order to budget appropriately, we’ve had to budget for insurance at the family level, which is a substantial difference. As folks are hired into those positions, hopefully we’ll have a better idea of what those actual costs are.”


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