SHEFFIELD - Every year residents of Sheffield are busy preparing to vote on Town Meeting Day.
This year, one town official is making preparation of her own, preparations to say goodbye.
Town Clerk Kathy Newland has held the position of town clerk in Sheffield for nearly three decades, and is preparing for her last year in office. “I’m going to retire in March of 2014 after 30 years, so this will be my last year,” Newland said.
Newland has been around for many different projects in Sheffield during her time as town clerk. One project in particular that has been a controversial topic in the community is the town’s wind farm. The town receives about $520,000 from the wind farm each year, and how that money is spent will be a hot topic at this year’s meeting.
“Obviously the wind farm money… is a hot button issue, and how we’re going to spend our $520,000, and how we’re going to distribute it,” Newland says.
Last year, the town voted to put 50% of the wind farm money toward the budget. The rest was putting a special reserve fund. This year, theoretically, the town could use the wind farm money to eliminate all town-related property taxes.
“There would be no general or highway property taxes, we’d still have school taxes, because the law forbids us to use any of money for school,” Newland explained.
While Newland focuses on finding a successor, the residents of Sheffield are preparing to debate whether or not selectmen should be able to invest that reserve fund money at their discretion. Sheffield’s Town Meeting will start at 9 am on March 5th.