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Plaistow officials seek guidance on clerk, tax collector pay raises

PLAISTOW — Selectmen are waiting to hear back from the state’s Department of Revenue Administration to determine the final wording of a warrant article regarding town clerk and tax collector pay that will appear on the town ballot in March.

Selectmen were supporting a warrant article that ties pay increases of those positions to the consumer price index.

Currently, any pay increase for the clerk or collector must go before voters as an individual warrant article. Many communities in the state, however, allow for cost-of-living increases connected to the consumer price index.

At the end of Saturday’s deliberative session, Budget Committee Chairman Kristin Lewis Savage successfully moved to amend the article, removing language that would allow selectmen to set the pay rates for newly elected or appointed clerks and collectors.

After the deliberative session, selectmen held an emergency session and voted 3-2 in opposition to supporting the article as amended. Selectmen Robert Gray, Michelle Curran and Daniel Poliquin opposed the amended article, while John Sherman and Joyce Ingerson voted in favor.

Gray said the amended article has been sent to the DRA for an interpretation.

“There was wording that was taken out of the original warrant article,” said Gray. The DRA will determine if the article will be able to legally move forward with that new wording, or if the article will revert back to its original form as originally presented at the deliberative session.

The remainder of the deliberative session moved forward without any major changes to the articles, according to Gray.

Voters approved sending forward a municipal operating budget of about $7.8 million to the March ballot. The budget represents just over a 2 percent increase over the current budget.

A new contract for police officers providing a 2 percent raise was also moved forward to the ballot. Taking negotiated insurance savings into account, the contract results in about $35,000 in increased costs to the town in its first year.

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