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Article Published June 28, 2022

Clinton Takes Next Step Toward Town Planner

By Eric O’Connell/Zip06.com

The Clinton Town Council has unanimously approved a job description for the town planner. The town will post the post and begin searching for applicants once the new fiscal year starts in July.

The inclusion of a fulltime town planner is something the town has seriously contemplated for a number of years. In 2019 the approved budget included the position, but it was never filled. The position was not included in the 2020 and 2021 proposed budgets.

The position was added to the 2022 budget after a consensus of the Town Council members expressed a desire for the position following a workshop. The position is budget at a salary of $90,000 and a total cost of $139,600, which Town Manager Karl Kilduff said would include the salary, payroll tax, and benefits for the position.

At a meeting on June 15 the Town Council unanimously approved a job description for the position.

“The approved job description sets us up for advertising the job to potential candidates. With the town planner returning to a full-time employee the job description is an important step to clarify expectations and the role the position will fill in the town. The town planner opportunity would be advertised widely in the state starting later in July,” said Kilduff.

Under the approved job description, the position would be responsible for “directing the planning, zoning, inland wetlands, zoning enforcement, and land use regulation compliance and the coordination of land use development plans and administration of the Clinton Plan of Conservation and Development.”

As part of the duties the planner would essentially be running the land use department and meeting with potential applicants to help them through the application process. The planner would also be responsible for making sure the that statuary rules are followed as well as data collection to help with the growth of the town.

“The position is a step forward for the town which continues professionalizing town operations and providing a consistent level of service to support residents and businesses looking to expand and locate in Clinton. The position is a great opportunity for a professional to bring their skill and experience to the town and support Clinton’s continued development,” said Kilduff.

A full-time town planner position has been controversial in Clinton over the last five years.

Proponents of the full-time position have argued that a town planner could help the town tackle the multiple opportunities for development that have cropped up around town, could spur economic development, could take the pressure off and offer guidance to the volunteers on the Planning & Zoning Commission, and help the Land Use Office. Those in favor of the position have also argued that having a full-time planner would be better for the town than using a consultant planner who has other obligations outside of Clinton.

Opponents of adding the position felt that adding a new position would add a significant cost to the town, expressed concerns that other positions would potentially be cut to accommodate the addition of the planner, and argued that using a consultant or part-time planner can lead to the same results at a reduced cost for the town. No jobs were cut in this year’s budget to accommodate the planner.

Currently, the town pays $48,000 for a consultant planner. The consultant planner advises multiple towns and is not in Town Hall every day.