FARMINGTON — The property tax rate for 2023 is going up, selectmen agreed Tuesday night, but the exact amount has not been figured.

Last year’s rate was $18 per $1,000 of assessed property value.

In a 4-1 vote, selectmen chose to base the tax commitment on putting $150,000 into the Downtown Tax Increment Financing District and $30,000 for overlay to cover any tax abatements.

Selectmen Matthew Smith, Byron Staples, Joshua Bell and Stephan Bunker were in favor; Dennis O’Neil was opposed.

In June, the board hired Dirigo Assessing Group of Sidney to complete the property assessments and figure the tax rate. On Tuesday, company representatives Nichole Stenberg and Justin Poirier presented four scenarios:

• $0 for the TIF and $40,309.64 for overlay, resulting in a tax rate of $19.66.


• $75,000 for the TIF and $38,453.22 for the overlay, resulting in a tax rate of $19.79.

• $150,000 for the TIF and $41,916.85 for the overlay, resulting in a tax rate of $19.93.

• $179,000 for the TIF and $41,257.08 for the overlay, resulting in a tax rate of $19.98.

Last year, the board also used different numbers than those provided by the assessor.

Stenberg said the maximum amount that could be put in the TIF is $179,000.

She noted much of the decrease in property value this year is due to how the Sandy River Farms solar farm was going to be taxed based on the depreciation agreed upon. According to a spreadsheet shared last year, the taxable value of the farm was about $71.6 million. This year it is $64 million.


Bell noted the board had earmarked $200,00 from the TIF for the Sandy River Bridge project and had approved $23,000 for other projects at the last meeting. There is $198,000 in the TIF, he said.

Trails, signs and some other small projects might be future projects, Bell said.

“I know the Downtown TIF Committee would like to have more money to build it up,” he said. “I don’t know if we need the full $179,000.”

Smith said he liked the $150,000. It would give a little cushion in case a project does come up.

The amount used for abatements last year wasn’t known.

Bell questioned the need for the overlay account because money for abatements can come from the undesignated fund balance. Any overlay not used goes into that fund. He asked why the town is taxing people to put it in the undesignated fund balance.


An attempt to reach Dirigo Assessing Group on Wednesday for the tax rate was unsuccessful.

In other business, Police Chief Kenneth Charles introduced new officer Ariana Bacon from the Skowhegan area.

Charles met her while on staff at the Maine Criminal Justice Academy.

“She really impressed me at the time as a real solid performer,” he said. “She is really bright, intelligent, a great team player. Those are attributes that don’t necessarily rise to the top for everyone so I was very excited to see her application come across my desk.”

Bacon was a Lewiston officer for about three years, left law enforcement for a time and moved back to the area, Charles said.

“I come from a family of first responders,” Bacon said.

A graduate of Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia, with a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice, she said she is excited to be working in Farmington.

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