The Farmington Town Board approved a $1 million budget Monday, Nov. 15.
The board voted 2-1 to raise the tax levy by 3 percent, from $632,800 in 2010 to $651,800 in 2011.
Town Chairman Dale Trinrud and Supervisor No. 2 Caroline Murphy voted in favor of the budget, while Supervisor No. 1 Joel Bartel voted against it.
“I strongly disagree with the decision of the board to increase property taxes in the 2011 town of Farmington budget when we are in the worst economic time since the Depression, and we have $600,000 in savings of taxpayer money,” Bartel said.
He offered an amendment that would have resulted in no increase in property taxes, but it died due to no second on the motion.
Bartel said that without a tax increase, the budget would have still been balanced without using extra funds from savings.
The town’s total expenditures will rise by 1.8 percent, from $989,500 to just over $1 million.
Spending on general government – which includes per diems to board members, staff salary and expenses, elections, legal fees, auditing and insurance – is projected to drop from $163,000 budgeted for 2010 to $155,400 in 2011.
Town Clerk-Treasurer Sandy Grenlie attributed the drop in general government costs to several factors.
Grenlie said there were four elections in 2010, for which the town budgeted $10,000. In 2011, there will be only two elections at a projected cost of $4,500.
She said the town budgeted $163,000 for general government expenditures in 2010, but is now projected to spend about $141,000.
In 2010, Farmington budgeted $9,000 in costs for a zoning deputy and $8,000 in revenues from land use permit fees issued by the zoning deputy. Since the county has taken responsibility for the permits, both the expenses and revenues are no longer part of the town’s budget.
The single-largest line item in Farmington’s budget is for roads. The town budgeted $325,000 for maintenance, $75,000 for snowplowing and $30,500 for streetlights. Including other miscellaneous items, Farmington’s total 2011 budget for roads is $447,550, an increase of $1,530 over the 2010 budget.
The town also budgeted nearly $30,000 for “other financial uses.” Grenlie said this would be used for contingency funds. If not used in 2011, the amount would be added to the town’s $905,600 fund balance.
The town budgeted $177,500 for public safety expenses, which includes fire protection, ambulance service and lake patrol.
Farmington’s estimated tax rate will increase from $1.29 per $1,000 of assessed value in 2010 to $1.36 per $1,000 in 2011, Grenlie said.