FARMINGTON — Selectmen Tuesday night, Feb. 8, voted 3-2 to use the better of three options to provide hazard pay to employees using American Rescue Plan Act funds.

Town Manager Christian Waller felt some criteria was needed since the amount of time employed by the town would affect the amount of risk involved. Someone employed less than six months would only receive 25%, and so on up through, he said.

“I would like us to come out with a decision on hazard pay,” Selectman Matthew Smith said. “It’s long overdue.”

Employees who have been with the town more than two years will receive $2,000; those one to two years $1,500; those six months to a year $1,000 and those less than six months $500, Smith said after the meeting. The best option would have started at $3,000 with the good option starting at $1,000, he noted.

The sewer department requested $15,000 from ARPA funds, Waller said.

Tri-County Mental Health had made a request for $50,000 from the town’s funds. Broadband and the Community Center roof had also been mentioned previously as possible uses.


“If broadband is considered, the larger the amount set aside, the more interest providers would have for partnerships,” Waller said. Community funds could be matches for other opportunities such as grants, he said. In Wilton $1 from the town brought back $10 from providers, he added as an example of a force multiplier.

Getting the maximum amount for the Community Center roof, lessening the amount of taxes needed was favored by Selectman Stephan Bunker.

Waller noted some communities had put out an online survey for residents to provide input on how ARPA funds should be used.

“We have enough options,” Selectman Scott Landry said. “I don’t think we need to drag this out too long.”

Selectman Michael Fogg suggested using the best option for hazard pay. “I’m not comfortable going with the cheapest just to cover our butts,” he said.

Some Farmington citizens worked through the pandemic, didn’t have the option for hazard pay, Selectman Joshua Bell noted.


Smith moved to implement the better option. Smith, Fogg and Landry were in favor. Bell and Bunker were opposed.

Bunker said later he wasn’t opposed to hazard pay.

In other business, Selectmen voted to postpone the annual Town Meeting until April 25.

A late addition to the agenda was reviewing and approving the warrant for the meeting which had been set for March 28.

The company doing the printing needs about 45 days, Executive Assistant Nancy Martin said. The annual town report, which includes the warrant articles for the town meeting, is usually available ahead of the meeting.

Smith wanted time to review the articles.

Going over the approved raises in executive session was suggested by Bell. When the board approved the $8.5 million budget last month, he voted in opposition to any department that included pay increases over the 7.3% cost of living adjustment approved in December.

The board had asked Town Manager Christian Waller to make recommendations to bring some town employees closer in line with what similarly sized Maine towns pay. For years Farmington’s pay scale hasn’t changed much, so some employees are not where they should be.

An executive session will be held Tuesday, Feb. 15. Smith doubted any decisions on the warrant articles would be made afterwards.

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