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May 25, 2020
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Do What Is Right

Published April 24, 2019

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The annual Clinton budget battle begins, but it doesn’t have to be this way. My comments pertain only to the town budget—the education budget has plenty of supporters and detractors of its own. I have one request of “Yes” voters: that they vote “Yes” on both, not just on their parochial interests and forget about the town. It’s inexplicable that there are often more “Yes” votes for the education budget than for the town budget.

Our proposed town budget increased 3.11 percent, causing a modest 0.71 mill rate increase—quite reasonable since health insurance, wages, legal costs, and bridge, school roof, and flash-flood repairs all add to our budget as unavoidable expenses.

Unfortunately the Clinton Taxpayers Association (CTA) is launching its annual “Vote No” campaign. That’s odd since no less a figure than CTA President Pam Fritz spoke in favor of the town planner position, which is badly needed for professional guidance of our sometimes rude and dysfunctional Planning & Zoning Commission (PZC). With a budget defeat, Ms. Fritz surely realizes that the planner position will be a target, without which there’s no one to moderate PZC’s impulse to mess up the Indian River Landing (“old Morgan”) development.

We’re beginning our path to recovery with the installation of a professional town manager supported by our competent Economic Development Commission. But how effective will a town manager be with key holes in staff? Principal holes are the aforementioned town planner and lack of a permanent finance director and human resources function. Lack of town hall support staff and constant budget defeats may limit the number and quality of town manager applicants we receive.

Sometimes you have to do what is right for Clinton’s long-term good, no matter what. I encourage your readers to support our town budget.

Selectman Phil Sengle (R)