CLINTON — The Board of Selectmen heard presentations Tuesday on a proposed food recycling pilot program and an update on the town’s revaluation.

Garnett Robinson, owner and president of Maine Assessment and Appraisal Services Inc. and Clinton’s assessor’s agent, said that the revaluation is almost complete and he has found new value in town. Despite that, he said, as long as the annual spending from the town does not increase neither will the tax rate.

“If the budget is fairly similar to last year, you’re going to have, I would think, a pretty significant drop in the mill rate,” Robinson said. “The only reason I’m not giving you a hard and fast number is that this last year has been the most wild real estate market we’ve had in history.”

Robinson said he has seen several high-priced sales in Clinton that don’t match up with longer term averages for sales, and that these purchases aren’t from the typical buyers. Instead of people from Maine moving back to the area, it is people from out of state who haven’t lived here before, and Robinson said he questions if they will stay long-term.

So he is going to wait another month to see what the market does before finalizing. At this point the team has been to every property, but still needs to go inside some locations.

After the values for individual properties have been finalized, Robinson plans to send out property cards to residents, so that they can actually see it to confirm all the information is correct and can appeal the assessment if they disagree.

Also discussed at the meeting was the Maine School Administrative District 49 school budget, with Clinton school board member Terry Knowles. The essential programs and services budget for the district will be $27,633,228.76 for the 2021-22 school year, a 0.76% decrease from the year before.

“I want to mention, a lot of the cuts that were made for the budget to get that almost one percent decrease, we actually were able to pay, for example, the school nurses out of COVID money that we had or do have,” Knowles said. “And some of the other instructors that we were allowed to pay their next year’s salaries with that — so that’s how we saved money.”

Although the overall budget has slightly decreased, the amount Clinton will pay has increased by $30,825, the total coming out to $2,423,477.72, according to Knowles. That number includes funds for essential programs and services, local adult education and food service.

Clinton’s share has increased because the state contribution has decreased, and the number of student losses from Clinton in the district was more than in other towns.

The district will hold a virtual public hearing on the budget May 6.

The board also heard a presentation from Gabe Gauvin, environmental planner at Kennebec Valley Council of Governments, on a proposed food waste disposal program. The pilot program would be in partnership with the Sen. George J. Mitchell Center for Sustainability Solutions at the University of Maine, and would mimic the program recently started in Winslow.

“Right now, most of the food waste in the world, and in Maine specifically, is going straight to landfill,” Gauvin said. “Landfills were not designed to handle food; they were designed to handle trash.”

The proposed program would put several large bins for food waste at the transfer station in Clinton, where residents could easily drop it off. It would then be picked up by the company Agri-Cycle, which then takes the food waste to a digester and turns it into a usable fertilizer.

The town would need 35% of households to participate in the program to break even. After that point it is cheaper per ton of food waste for Agri-Cycle to take it than it would be for the garbage company to take it to a landfill.

Agri-Cycle’s cost is low because the company already does pickups in the area at Hannaford, Walmart and MaineGeneral. The town could also partner with local businesses to use the bins for food waste, which would make it easier and faster for the town to reach the break-even mark.

KVCOG and the Mitchell Center would work with the town to produce educational materials and signage, and host events to increase attention and encourage residents to utilize the program. Gauvin said they held a kickoff event for the Winslow program, and even though it was cold and snowy, they had a solid turnout from residents.

“We really want to work with you guys to get that kind of community support and interest going,” Gauvin said.

The Clinton program would be done in conjunction with Benton, since both towns use the transfer station. The board decided to have another presentation on the issue at its next meeting, May 11, and will invite the Benton Select Board and the transfer station staff to hear their thoughts on the plan.

The board also held its third and final public hearing for the revised code enforcement fee schedule before approving it. The new fee schedule will go into effect May 11, after the board approves the minutes of this meeting at its next meeting that evening.

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