New Sharon voters were ready to discuss town business during annual town meeting

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NEW SHARON — Voters held back on a raise for the town clerk but gave one to the code enforcement officer, elected a new road commissioner and accepted a revised site plan review for the town during Saturday’s annual town meeting held at Cape Cod Hill School.

After re-electing Rose Mary Eller to the positions of town clerk and tax collector for another year, voters held back on the request to increase her salary to $24,000, saying with the economy the way it is, it was not the time to grant raises. Selectmen recommended keeping it at $21,900, and voters agreed.

After a lengthy discussion, voters approved raising $50,000 through taxes for salaries, paying each selectman $7,000, and the town treasurer $7,100, the same amounts as last year.

The $50,000 also showed increases for Eller’s town clerk salary to $9,600 from $7,100 last year and for tax collector to $12,300 up from $7,300 last year. It was not an increase, as such, but rather a change in the way bookkeeping is done. Previously, the agent fees from state vehicle transactions were paid to her separately, but now they will be included in her salary and the agent fees will go to the town, Selectman Maynard Webster said.

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“It’s the same amount of money. It’s a wash: agent fees for salary,” he said.

Voters at first favored decreasing selectmen’s salaries to $5,000 to bring the salary amount down to $44,000, but Linda Grant suggested leaving it at $50,000, paying the selectmen $5,000 each and giving the extra to the clerk/tax collector to reflect the work done with a new town computer system. Voters rejected that idea.

The selectmen do all the assessing work, saving the town money, Webster said.

The amount of knowledge and training needed to serve as code enforcement officer prompted voters to raise Code Enforcement Officer Jim Fleming’s salary from $7,500 to $8,500.

Voters decided to bring back former Road Commissioner Kevin Brann, replacing this year’s commissioner, Donald Lowe, by a vote of 87-70.

Selectman Larry Donald and school board director William Reid were re-elected for three-year terms.

The estimated 150 voters opted to adopt a revised site plan review that would allow properties a reduced setback to abutting property, said Planning Board member Jim Davis.

“The new plan is more fair to growth and expansion of business in town,” he said.

abryant@sunjournal.com

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