Canton passes budget with town clerk’s office change

The SUNY Canton pedestrian bridge spans the Grasse River off Riverside Drive in Canton. The Canton Town Board unanimously passed its 2022 spending plan Thursday. Christopher Lenney/Watertown Daily Times

CANTON — The Town Board added a full-time deputy clerk to its 2022 spending plan Thursday night before approving it with a unanimous vote.

The board had been considering a few changes to the clerk’s office during its budget workshops this fall. One plan was a part-time deputy clerk, another was for two part-time clerks.

Councilor Robert J. Washo made a motion to change the plan to one featuring a full-time clerk, adding $43,000 to the budget.

“Our incoming clerk made it clear that a full-time deputy clerk was necessary,” Mr. Washo said.

Town Supervisor Mary Ann Ashley said she agreed with the plan.

“Department heads know what they need,” she said.

Incoming clerk Heidi L. Smith made a comment in the Zoom chat field after the vote.

“I would like to thank the board for approving the full-time deputy position and putting the training back into the budget,” she wrote.

Mrs. Smith had served as deputy clerk under former Town Clerk Lisa A. Hammond until Mrs. Hammond’s retirement at the end of 2020. The board subsequently appointed Karin S. Blackburn as interim clerk, passing over Mrs. Smith.

Mrs. Blackburn and Mrs. Smith were slated to face each for the position in the general election earlier this month, but Mrs. Blackburn dropped out of the race.

The money to pay for the deputy clerk will come from a contingency fund, Ms. Ashley said.

The tax rate will remain at a 2% increase as proposed in the preliminary budget, $2.39 per thousand, up just 4 cents from the 2021 plan.

The $3 million plan was passed with no other discussion Thursday.

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