Farmington drops levy by $500
The Farmington Town Board approved a $651,317 tax levy for 2012, down just over $500 from 2011.
The town’s $1.03 million budget is up by about $22,000 over last year.
Town Clerk and Treasurer Sandy Grenlie said much of the budget increase is due to an insurance settlement on the abandoned landfill in Dayton.
Farmington is one of three local townships that have been paying for ongoing tests and studies after the landfill was linked to groundwater contamination more than a decade ago. The testing has cost Farmington up to $100,000 per year.
According to the state Department of Natural Resources, studies in 2008 found that the contamination had been stabilized and was receding through natural attenuation.
Earlier this year, Farmington received a one-time insurance payment of $320,000 for its losses due to frequent groundwater testing at and around the landfill.
The town will also receive $48,000 annually for 20 years as part of the settlement.
Grenlie said the insurance payments will go toward costs to continue monitoring the landfill.
Most of the one-time insurance payment has gone into the town’s savings.
Currently, Farmington has a fund balance of $1.23 million.
In October, the town board voted to designate $200,000 for building a new town hall. So far, the town board has set aside a total of $400,000 for the project.
Town Chairman Dale Trinrud said Farmington has been considering a new town hall for years and has built up a fund so that the town will not need to borrow when it is ready to build a new hall.
“A new town hall was identified as something we need when we did the surveys for the comprehensive planning,” Trinrud said. “Our office space is crowded, we need more room for the elections and the restrooms are not handicapped accessible.”
“If we can have enough money put together to build this without borrowing, we could possibly begin in a couple of years,” Trinrud said.
Both Trinrud and Grenlie noted that the town’s budget has remained fairly constant over the past four years.
“Nothing ever changes that drastically from year to year,” Grenlie said. “Our tax rate of $1.40 per $1,000 of assessed value is one penny less than it was last year.”
She said the town is doubling its budget for elections in 2012, from about $5,000 to $10,000 due to the presidential race, state and federal elections, county elections and a possible recall election.