The Board of Selectmen's regularly scheduled meetings are on the second and fourth Monday of each month at 6:00pm in the Selectmen's Chambers, 356 Main Street. This schedule is subject to change so be sure to check the Town Meeting Calendar for actual meeting dates and times. Call the Selectmen's office at (603) 755-2208 if you have any questions.
Chairmans Report for end of year 2018
Whew... what a busy year! As always, the Department Heads and the Town Administrator have done an excellent job trying to keep our expenses as low as possible. In years where extra revenue is hard to come by, the only way to maintain a healthy budget and manage your bottom line is to be creative. Much time and effort goes into the research of anything we purchase to make sure this happens. I would like to thank my fellow Selectmen for the commitment they made to meet every week, instead of every other week, to make sure we could take advantage of every opportunity possible. In the next few paragraphs, I will touch on a few of the areas that we have dealt with this year.
House Keeping... This year was the year that we reviewed, revised and updated the Employee Handbook. This document holds all the personnel policies and procedures that concern the workplace and protect the rights of employees and employer. Employee job descriptions were reviewed and updated to reflect the tasks expected for each of the jobs. Lastly, the Board undertook a wage study to make sure that the Town could stay as competitive as we possibly could to help with the retention of good employees. This is a balancing act. We try to do the best we can, while remaining fully aware of the Towns' ability to pay.
Personnel ... We had many changes this year. Jason Gagnon resigned at the end of February, which left the Highway, Transfer Station, Water and Wastewater Departments without a director. The Board decided that this could be an opportunity to reconstruct personnel assignments. We hired Gary Rogers as Director for the Highway and Transfer Station Departments. Chuck Tiffany stepped up from his position with the Highway and Water Departments to take the Director' s position for Water and Wastewater. Steve Deinstadt, who has operated our wastewater plant for years, stepped up and went for his level 4-wastewater certification. Because these individuals agreed to accept these new responsibilities, the Town saved endless money in consultation fees and potential oversight by the N.H. Department of Environmental Services.
Communication ... Several Board discussions centered on this subject. We wanted to attempt to find a better way to get "factual" information about important issues to residents. We updated the Farmington Website to make it more user friendly and to allow mobile access. We voted to create a Facebook Page that would allow people to get information that they know is correct and reliable. Still feeling that we could do more, we held our first "Whistle Stop". The Whistle Stop is a form of "meet and greet" where residents can come and speak (informally without a meeting room and cameras) to all the Selectmen about issues that concern them. Stay tuned, we will try to have them as often as we can.
Projects... One of the projects that we have been working on concerns the replacement of all the water meters in town. After Town Meeting granted permission to apply for the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund loan, we delved in to make this happen. With the approval of the Towns' application, we sent out installation bids, held a Public Hearing, and had discussion on billing rates. The installation of new meters should begin shortly. Another project in motion is one that concerns the possible revitalization of the downtown area and redevelopment ideas for the old firehouse area. Through the Plan New Hampshire Grant, UNH has been facilitating meetings and helping the planning department to pull together ideas and a course of action to revitalize the downtown area through outreach to town residents. This will prove to be valuable information as we move forward with the update of the Master Plan that is underway. On the Warrant this year, is a request for permission to participate in a TAP Grant. This grant is a N.H. Department of Transportation Alternatives Program grant that requires the Town to match 20% while the grant pays the other 80% of the amount needed for the project. The project to begin the revitalization of the downtown is in draft form and will be solidified if the warrant is passed and the grant is awarded to the Town.
Updates... We had anticipated the construction to begin on the solar gardens this year, but some issues on their end slowed down their progress. We have been assured that everything is back on track, permits are in place and that they are ready to start construction sometime this year. The Board worked diligently to place 10 outstanding tax deeded properties back on the tax rolls. By finding buyers for these properties, we gained approximately $712,000.00 in additional taxable property value (thank you for the numbers Neil).
I would like to take a quick minute to thank all the Town Staff, volunteers who willing give their time, the rest of my board who put in endless hours and the residents of Farmington who allow us to serve them.
Paula Proulx, Chairman