CLINTON — Residents had little to say this week when selectmen held a public hearing on the $3.3 million municipal budget and the spending plan now goes to the annual Town Meeting on June 14 for final approval.

The budget represents a 12.7% increase in spending compared to last year, or roughly $375,000. Town officials previously said the increase was largely because of a jump in utility costs that was out of the town’s control.

There are also increases in the fire and police budgets as a result of a move to join the Maine Public Employees Retirement System, which will allow town employees and the town to contribute more to individual retirement plans. Residents at the Town Meeting must approve the switch.

The warrant articles reviewed at Tuesday’s meeting include having the town assume control of the Riverview Cemetery as town property.

Also on the warrant is a large-scale solar moratorium ordinance, which would ban for a year new solar energy systems that are 15,000 square feet or larger while the Planning Board develops an ordinance for such projects. One project now in development would not be affected by the proposed moratorium.

Tuesday’s meeting also included a presentation by the town auditor on a review of the town’s 2021 finances.


Karen Olivieri, an accountant for Buxton-based RHR Smith & Company who has been working on the audit, said selectmen need to develop written financial policies.

Much of the discussion focused on the town’s process for ambulance billing. The town works with a billing company that sends out three bills to collect ambulance charges, Town Manager Earla Haggerty said. After those three notices, there is no procedure in place to attempt to collect the money any further.

Many towns end up writing off a portion of the money that is not collected annually, but because Clinton has no formal policies in place, that hasn’t been happening. Olivieri said she discovered $339,000 that accumulated over the last 10 or more years that was billed but never paid, but also not written off by the town.

Haggerty said that the town is already taking steps to update its processes, and she is meeting with a collection agency this week to see if the town should hire the agency.

Selectmen passed a motion saying that bills that are not paid in 120 days are deemed uncollectable for auditing purposes. The town can still go to a collection agency to collect that money, but for the purposes of an audit, it helps estimate a more realistic number for what the town expects to receive.

“We’re building a new infrastructure so we can manage our second largest revenue better — more accurately, more timely,” Haggerty said, referring to the money generated for the town from its ambulance service.

Related Headlines

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.