DIXFIELD — Selectmen chose longtime resident Ralph Clarke as the town’s Distinguished Citizen of the Year on Monday.

“He is overdue for this,” Selectman James Desjardins said at the board meeting. “He has served on many committees and acted as town meeting moderator.”

Clarke is co-owner of Log Cabin Craftworks with his wife, Selectman Norine Clarke.

Norine Clarke abstained from voting.

Ralph Clarke will be honored at the annual town meeting on May 27.

The board also signed the town meeting warrant and approved a nonbinding opinion question that asks whether residents want to maintain a police department that provides 24/7 coverage. The department employs four full-time officers and several reserve officers.

If the status of the police department changes, the financial impact would not be felt until fiscal year 2011-12. The proposed budget for 2010-11 is just under $304,000.

The straw vote will be held at the June 8 election.

If all money articles are approved at town meeting, residents would raise about $1.9 million, which is about the same as last year. However, Town Manager Eugene Skibitsky said the current tax rate of $16.25 per $1,000 valuation may rise slightly because of a reduction in state revenue sharing and other revenues, and an increase in school taxes for Western Foothills Regional School Unit 10.

He said he still does not have the final valuation of the town, as well.

“Assessment won’t be certain until July, but I can probably do an educated guess,” he said.

Residents may review copies of the proposed municipal budget at the town office or on the town’s website, www.dixfield.org

In other matters:

• Selectmen Bettina Martin and Desjardins were appointed to the Odd Fellows/Rebekahs Scholarship Committee.

• Several people have complained about speeding on Pine Street; the Dixfield Police Department has begun sending more patrols to the area.

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