CLINTON — Voters decided Tuesday that a near-dollar increase in property tax was worth fixing several poor roads.

Voters approved the overall budget of less than $2.1 million, which includes at least a 99-cent increase on property tax for every $1,000 of assessed value. That means a property assessed at $100,000 will increase in taxes by $99.

Town Manager Warren Hatch is still uncertain what the total rise in property tax will be, because the state budget still isn’t complete.

Some 464 residents voted at Town Hall on Tuesday.

Hatch believes that the town will receive around $115,000, about $75,000 short of the full amount originally expected. That shortfall will be made up with money taken from the reserve fund, which voters approved 340-112.

While the town narrowly rejected raising an extra $135,000 for road repairs last year, voting 321-277 against the article, this year voters were persuaded to fix the roads, approving the article 278-173.

“I think we realized something has to be done, and sooner or later you have to spend the money,” said Assistant Fire Chief Travis Leary. “It’s going to cost more later if we don’t do it now. Obviously nobody wants a jump (in property tax), but a slight jump is easier on people.”

Resident Charles Dorr was against the additional funding for the roads, but not because he believed they didn’t need repairs, but that the highway department, which would work on the roads, needs more staffing for that amount of money.

“The roads need improvement but they need more people to help,” Dorr said. “They have one person on the highway department. What can one person do? It’s a waste of money.”

Jimmy Gerow, 53, a dairy farmer in Clinton, voted to raise the money to help repair the roads, but he also said it would take more than just one year to get the job done.

“The roads need it. It’ll be a long time before they catch up to where they need to be,” Gerow said, citing Horseback Road and Johnson Flat Road as two that are in bad shape.

All articles passed except for the police department budget, which the town rejected 267-192. Hatch said the department will run on last year’s budget until future special town meetings or hearings are scheduled.

Two incumbents were returned by voters as selectmen, with Ronnie Irving and Jeffrey Towne regaining their seats.

Jesse Scardina — 861-9239
[email protected]

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