SOLON — Voters at Saturday’s Town Meeting will consider a proposed $878,752 budget that includes a salary increase for the clerk/tax collector to keep the Town Office open four days a week.

The meeting is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. at Solon Elementary School, with elections to be held 8 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. at the same location.

Four people are running unopposed in the election: incumbent First Selectman Elaine Aloes, Road Commissioner Gary Bishop, Town Clerk and Treasurer Christine Jablon and Deron Whittemore, a  member of the School Administrative 74 board of directors.

At the meeting, voters will consider a 39-article warrant that includes a request to pay the clerk/tax collector $28,080, a $6,000 salary increase recommended by both selectmen and the Budget Committee. Voters also will be asked to change the position from an elective to an appointive position, with selectmen having the authority to appoint. Selectmen and the Budget Committee recommend the change.

Aloes said Wednesday that the Town Office was open three days a week until December, and now it is open four days a week.

If voters want to keep it open four days a week, the town clerk/tax collector’s salary must increase, she said.

“We’re getting positive feedback from people who like the extra day, so we’ll see what people say at Town Meeting,” Aloes said.

The proposed budget represents an  increase over the budget  approved last year, according to Aloes. If voters approve all of the warrant items, the tax rate of $18.70 per $1,000 worth of valuation would increase to $18.72, and that is without the school budget having been decided.

She said the total proposed budget is $908,352 but the town has $29,600 in reserve funds it plans to use, which would reduce that number to $878,752.

Last year the budget was $1.35 million and the town did a road paving project. The reserve budget last year was $515,854, so the taxable budget was $843,893, according to Aloes.

Increases in the current proposed budget are reflected in the proposed salary increase for the clerk/tax collector; a $10,700 GIS mapping project, for which the Planning Board would contribute $5,000 and the rest would come from taxation; $5,000 for an LED sign on the Municipal Building and fire station property; and $2,600 for a survey of the Coolidge Library property.

One article asks whether voters will authorize spending $11,000 from the highway equipment reserve account for a new dump body for the town’s 1995 Ford dump truck. Another asks if they will spend $11,000 from the Municipal Building’s maintenance reserve account for a new furnace for the fire station. The furnace was installed in 1992, Aloes said.

“It’s close to 30 years ago now and it needs to be replaced,” she said.

In other matters, voters will consider approving an ordinance that would limit home cultivation of marijuana for personal adult use. The ordinance requires people who grow recreational marijuana to be living on the property where they are growing it, according to Aloes. She explained the reason for the ordinance by giving an example:

“If you’re living in Solon and have a brother in Massachusetts, you can’t grow three plants for him on your own property, because he doesn’t live there,” she said.

Voters also will consider adopting a revised shoreland zoning ordinance and shoreland zoning maps.

Aloes said the town will consider what to do with foreclosed properties. Solon has four foreclosed properties and the owners of all but one property have come forward to say they want to buy the properties back, according to Aloes. Officials have not been able to locate the owner of the fourth property, she said.

 

Amy Calder — 861-9247

[email protected]

Twitter: @AmyCalder17


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