The Clinton Board of Selectmen unanimously passed the town warrant with no changes Tuesday night after holding a public hearing during its regular meeting.

The hearing focused on a few specific spending items.

Clinton Town Manager Earla Haggerty said Tuesday she had added a raise for the selectmen into the warrant because they deserved it and none had asked her to do it. Michael G. Seamans/Morning Sentinel file

The proposed raise for selectmen drew attention. The increase would bring the pay for each selectman to $3,000 and total $15,000 to pay all five selectmen.

Earla Haggerty, Clinton town manager, said that she had included the raise in the budget, and that none of the selectmen had asked her for it. She said that she believed the selectmen put a lot of time and effort into their roles and deserve the raise.

“It was a number that I chose to put there, because I believe that the participation that this town gets from the selectmen, that it’s worth it,” Haggerty said.

When it came time to vote on final approval of the warrant, Selectman Geraldine Dixon stated that while she supported the warrant as a whole, she did not support a raise for the board.

“I just have a problem voting for a raise for myself,” Dixon said.

Dixon also questioned the money allocated for local food banks. In past years, the budget has included $2,000 for the Clinton food bank, but this year the proposed budget gave the Clinton food bank $1,000 and the other half to the Winslow food bank.

Haggerty said that the Winslow food bank had also been used by Clinton residents in recent months as it had longer hours than the Clinton food bank, and that had spurred the change.

“It just seems to be a better availability for people,” Haggerty said.

Coleen Bean, a Clinton resident, raised concerns about the increase in the budget overall, when revenue is anticipated to decrease. If revenue decreases, it would mean the money the town would need to raise from taxpayers would have to increase even though the budget as a whole is only increasing 2.6% from last year.

Chairman Jeffrey Towne said that the board has not set the tax rate yet, so there is no guarantee that it will increase. He also pointed out that the town has a “healthy” undesignated fund balance, and that he is hopeful the town will get funds from the federal government as part of the American Rescue Plan.

Towne said that the town had budgeted for a reduction of funds from the state, which he hopes will be offset by the federal funds.

“So hopefully we will be able to stabilize the tax, the mill rate, by applying funds from the undesignated fund balance to cover any tax increase,” Towne said.

The board passed the warrant without changes in a vote of 4-0, as Vice Chairman Stephen Hatch was unable to attend. There will be an informational hearing on the warrant May 25, and then the town will vote on it June 8. Absentee ballots will be available beginning May 7.

The meeting also included a public hearing on the Revised Code Enforcement Fee Schedule. There was discussion about the residential building permit fee and how Clinton compared to other towns in the area. Frank Gioffre, who works in code enforcement, said that Clinton’s residential building permit is 5 cents per square foot cheaper than any surrounding town.

Another hearing on the fee schedule will be held at the next Board of Selectmen meeting April 27, and after the conclusion of the hearing the board will vote on final approval.

The board approved a variety of other motions, including the spring 2021 road paving contract, several quit claim deeds for 2018 acquired property tax sale and a photo for the annual report cover.

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