FARMINGTON — Selectmen on Tuesday, Dec. 14, approved a 7.3% cost of living adjustment for employees in 2022.

According to figures provided to the board, the COLA in 2021 increased from 0.3% in January to a high of 0.9% in October, followed by 0.8% in both November and December. The total increase for the year was 7.3%.

Selectman Scott Landry asked about a federally forecast COLA of 6.2%.

They are looking at November to November, Town Manager Christian Waller said. “We’re looking at the calendar year.”

Various sources indicate the trend is anticipated to be a bit more moderate next year, Waller said.

Selectman Joshua Bell was surprised the COLA wasn’t higher and asked if the adjustment was based on national figures or if the northeast had different numbers.

The COLA is national, an average of all regions, Waller said. He didn’t have the number available, but suggested last year it was about 2%. It is at a 30 year high now, he added.

Social Security is increasing 5.9%, Selectman Stephan Bunker noted.

“Department managers need a number,” he said.

“As long as I have been on the board, there was only one time we didn’t go with the COLA,” Selectman Chairman Matthew Smith said. “It was a negative number that year. We’ve faired pretty well with it.”

Waller noted two things the COLA does:

1) For many employees, especially those who have been here a long time, it is treating them with fairness, equity.

2) It speaks toward the retention of talent.

“Retention is a problem and will only get worse if there’s no adjustment,” Landry said.

The 7.3% COLA will cost the town of Farmington just over $177,000, Waller said.

In other business, the board accepted a $4,000 donation from the Franklin County Chamber of Commerce/Seth Wescott golf tournament. The money was put in the Farmington Park and Recreation Department’s skateboard park reserve account.

That reserve account had $4,700 in it from an earlier donation from the chamber’s golf tournament. That donation was to go toward the “improvement, repair, grant match or planning” of the Dragon’s Nest Skateboard Park on Perkins Street next to Hippach Field. The park was built in 1991.

“There was no request for what this amount was to be used for but (Wescott) selected our organization to receive the funds again,” Recreation Director Matthew Foster wrote in an email.

Bell asked if a total for the project was known.

Waller said he didn’t know what the rehab/repair costs would be, but would find out and report back to the board.


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