CLARKSBURG – Voters have signed off on a fiscal 2017 budget and new zoning laws that will rein in potential wind energy development.
Thirty-eight voters turned out at the annual town meeting on Wednesday to approve a $4.33 million budget for and several other warrant articles.
The new zoning laws would prohibit the construction of wind turbines more than 100 feet tall, which would all but kill any commercial wind energy development in town but leave room for homeowners to build small-scale turbines by special permit.
Town officials introduced the new bylaws earlier this year in an attempt to halt any future attempts at commercial turbine installation in the town, which is largely undeveloped.
Another amendment to the town’s zoning bylaws approved on Wednesday will require a special permit for any wireless communications tower built in the town.
The newly approved fiscal 2017 budget, which fell within the proposition 2 ½ levy limit, is about a $183,000 increase, or 4.4 percent, over the previous year’s spending plan and includes noteworthy increases in pay to town employees.
Arguing that employees do not receive the same pay as other similarly sized towns in the region, officials introduced a budget that included several pay raises. They include a bump in pay of $6,282 to the administrative clerk salary, $1,500 to the town clerk, $2,466 to the chief of police, $12,179 in Department of Public Works wages, and $5,880 in the library assistant salary.
Voters also approved a five-year loan, with annual payments totaling about $65,000, to make substantial repairs to Horrigan Road.
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