Connecticut Campaign Finance Laws require each candidate for a municipal office to either register a candidate committee with this office and appoint a campaign treasurer who periodically discloses campaign finance activity or to file an exemption form, if that applies. The majority of candidates file the exemption form. Those running for First Selectman usually have their own committee and if they receive or expend more than $1000, it is necessary to file. Any questions as to legalities and responsibilities may be directed to the Office of the Secretary of the State, Campaign Finance Division.
The Town Clerk’s functions regarding elections are many and varied.
The Town Clerk prepares the ballot for the voting machines and for the absentee ballots. An official list of candidates is prepared and forwarded to Secretary of the State. The Town Clerk must keep the Secretary of the State informed as to any vacancies in an elective office whether by death or resignation. This is vital to the integrity of the balloting process. She also notifies the Secretary when a vacancy in an elective office has been filled.
Chairmen of Town Committees must be kept informed of many things in the months preceding an election. They need to know what offices are open in order to find candidates to fill those slots.
Absentee ballots are issued by this office. There is an application process first, then if all is in order, the ballot may be issued. Ballots are returned to the Town Clerk for delivery to the polls. There is a strict accounting of all absentee ballot applications and all absentee ballots issued.
It is the responsibility of this office to order all supplies needed to hold an election or a referendum.
On Election Night, the Town Clerk must be in her office to receive the results of the voting from the polling place. The votes are tallied by the Head Moderator and Town Clerk before the official numbers are released. By State Statute, it is the Town Clerk's duty to declare a person elected. Simply because someone receives more votes than another does not mean that he is elected. Minority representation must be taken into consideration so that not too many persons of one party control a board or commission.
The results of these elections are then put into a permanent record book for posterity.
The same goes for a referendum. The results are tallied in the same way as a regular election.
Voter registration cards are obtained in this office. These are used as a means of identification to prove that the person is a citizen. The name is checked on the voting list, the card filled out and the Town Seal affixed over the Town Clerk's signature.
Flood maps are stored in the Town Clerk’s vault. These are referred to by title searchers and homeowners and delineate the one hundred year flood plain for properties.
Freedom of Information, Public Meetings
It is a requirement of the State of Connecticut that citizens be given proper notice of all public meetings. Each year, by January 31, all boards and commissions are required to present to the Town Clerk a calendar of their upcoming schedule for the year. These become their Regular Meetings.
If however, during the year, it is necessary to call a Special Meeting, in other words a meeting which does not appear on that regular schedule, it may be called with only 24 hours advance notice. Notice of the date, time, place and purpose must be filed. Only those items appearing on the notice may be discussed.
Motions of a meeting are to be filed within 48 hours and minutes of the meeting within 7 days. As these are received by the Town Clerk, each is stamped with the date and time of filing. They are then filed away and become a permanent record of the Town.
Copies of all minutes may be obtained for a fee of $1.00 per page.
Bulletin boards are maintained in the lobby of Town Hall to inform you of upcoming meetings.
One of our primary functions is the recording and processing of land records. We accept the document for recording, stamp it with the date and time, calculate the recording fees and collect a State conveyance tax and a Town conveyance tax according to the sales price. In this regard, one of our functions is acting as the Tax Collector for the Connecticut Department of Revenue Services. For this we receive no compensation.
Fees for these Services are set by the Connecticut General Statutes as are most fees we collect. As of July 1, 2009, there is a $53.00 charge for recording page one of a document, with an additional charge of $5.00 for each additional page. If the document is a taxable conveyance of property, we must sassess an additional $2.00 charge for the recording. A Connecticut Real Estate Conveyance Tax Return must accompany the deed when it is recorded. The return must be complete and accurate. We assess the charge for the tax and attach the check which is made out to Commissioner of Revenue Services to the form. This must be forwarded to the Department of Revenue Services in a timely manner. If there is no price stated in the deed, a Town Conveyance Tax form must accompany the deed, stating the price paid.
Next, we assign a volume and page to the document, stamp it with the conveyance tax collected and with a "received for record stamp" showing date and time of receipt. We darken all seals so they will show up in microfilming. The document is then indexed into our computer system and a list is run off. It is edited and corrected, then run off and put into a daybook, which is a chronological index of documents. At the end of the month, this index is alphabetized and entered into our Grantor/Grantee Indices. These are the master indices for all documents recorded in our office. Accuracy and consistency is of the utmost importance.
Next we scan each document. After scanning, we are able to print the document and put it into a hard-cover book in the vault for immediate use. The customer is also able to view the document on the computer screen and to make copies of it also. At the end of each month, the data is sent electronically to Cott Systems, our computer vendor who handles data for Town Clerks around the country. At Cott Systems, they process the data and put in onto microfilm which is then stored in an underground facility called Iron Mountain in New York State for safekeeping. Documents are now processed so quickly that the originals can be returned to the attorney, the bank or buyer very quickly, sometimes the same day.
There are numerous types of documents which are processed on the Land Records, i.e. Warranty Deeds, Quit Claim Deeds, Mortgages, Releases of Mortgage, Assignments of Mortgage, Lis Pendens, Attachments, Mechanics Liens, Judgment Liens, Tax Liens, Sewer Liens, Water Liens, Declarations, Foreclosures and many, many more.
Maps & Surveys
There are statutory requirements for the filing of maps. Once a map or survey is filed, it never leaves the office, except for microfilming. There are regulations concerning materials, printing process, signatures and seals on a map or a Mylar as it is commonly called.
Maps are also entered into the computer system for indexing purpose. We maintain an index by Map Title and by Street. At this time, we have approximately 3,500 maps on file. After we have accumulated approximately fifty maps, they are sent out for microfilming. The cost of a computer printout is $1.00.
Retention Schedules & Disposal Records
The Town Clerk’s Office maintains a Retention Schedule for all departments. Copies relating to each department are dispensed to the Department head with instructions as to how to dispose of records in the proper way. This process involves the Department Head, the First Selectman and the Public Records Administrator of the State of Connecticut. A strict record is kept of what is to be disposed of. This record is recorded in the Town Meeting Book as a permanent record of disposal. Many offices do this on a yearly basis. This is the only way most paperwork can be destroyed.
The Town Clerk is the recording clerk for all special Town Meetings. She is responsible for providing the Moderator with the tools needed to conduct the meeting, for taking the minutes and for recording the minutes. This record is then recorded in a permanent record book.
The Town Clerk’s Office is the repository for all vital records - births, marriages, civil unions, deaths, burial certificates, cremation permits. If the “event” occurred outside of Clinton, the original is filed in the town where it occurred and a copy is filed here for reference. If the "event" occurred in Clinton, the original remains here and copies are sent to the town of residence of the party or parties involved.
A Request for a Birth Record is strictly regulated. It must be handwritten or typed and must be accompanied by a photo ID of the person making the request. Birth records may be viewed by certain family members, title searchers and attorneys and the head of the municipality but copies may only be obtained by certain members of the family or a lawful representative and registered Genealogical Societies. A full size certified copy will be $20.00 and a wallet size may be obtained for $15.00.
A birth certificate of an adopted person may be issued; however, the original birth record remains sealed unless ordered opened by the Court.
A certified copy of a death certificate, marriage certificate or civil union certificate may be issued if the event occurred in Clinton or if the decedent or applicant was a resident of the Town of Clinton. The fee for a certified copy is $20.00.
Marriage licenses are issued for marriages taking place in Clinton. Blood tests are no longer required. The fee for the license is $30.00 with $19.00 of that going to the State of Connecticut.
Upon issuance of the license, the applicants are advised to give the license to the person performing the ceremony. The license will ultimately be returned to the Town Clerk where it becomes a permanent record. A certified copy may be obtained for a fee of $20.00.
Copies of all vitals which take place in Connecticut are sent monthly to the Department of Health of the State of Connecticut where records for the entire State are kept.
Writs, Summons, & Complaints
The Town Clerk accepts service for the Town for all complaints, suits, etc. Once accepted, the original is stamped with date of receipt. A copy goes to Town Attorney, the First Selectman and the Department involved. This is a public record and is open for public inspection.
Licenses, Permits, or Certificates
The month of June is when all dogs in Connecticut are to be licensed. We process approximately 1,200 dog licenses per year. Reminders are mailed out at the end of May as a reminder to those who have previously licensed their pet that it is time to do it again.
When a dog is acquired, the new owner has thirty days in which to license it. All dogs of the age of 6 months must be licensed.
In order to license a dog, a current certificate of rabies vaccination MUST BE presented. This certificate is provided by the Vet. Also, if a dog is neutered or spayed, that certificate is presented to us. A rabies tag is not acceptable.
Fees for registering your dog are $8.00 for a neutered or spayed dog and $19.00 for an unaltered dog. If a dog is not registered in a timely fashion, a $1.00 per month fee is assessed. This is a statutory fee and must be collected by us.
If a dog’s tag is lost, a replacement may be purchased for $.50. Also, if a dog was licensed for the current year in another Connecticut Town, a license for the same year will be issued for $1.00. The paper license must be presented as proof of registration.
Fish & Game Licenses
This Office administers the sale and accounting of game licenses for the State. A Town Clerk may have agents who can sell licenses evenings and weekends. A strict accounting is kept of licenses sold and moneys received. The agent returns the sold licenses and the money collected to the Town Clerk monthly so it may be forwarded to the Department of Environmental Protection in Hartford.
Licenses are sold daily in the Town Clerk’s Office. They are many types of licenses. Hunting licenses are strictly monitored. If an applicant presents a hunting license which has been procured in any of the past five years, he is issued another one. However, if more than five years have passed since he held a hunting license, he must then take a course prescribed by the DEP. The Town Clerk maintains a listing of these courses for the entire State.
There are no special requirements for fishing licenses. Anyone of the age of 16 or more must have a license to fish. We also carry all forms of licenses for Non-Residents (residents of other States).
Fees for licenses are set by State Statute. Of the fee collected, only $1.00 goes to the Town, the rest to the Department of Environmental Protection in Hartford.
Anyone selling liquor in the State must have a liquor permit displayed on the premises. The Liquor Control Commission of the State of Connecticut issues a liquor permit to the applicant. This must be brought to the Town Clerk for filing and stamping. A fee of $2.00 is collected. A copy of the permit is made for the Town Clerk’s records. The original certificate is returned to the applicant and must be displayed at the place of business. Certificate of Trade Name
Trade Name Certificates
Anyone conducting business in Clinton under a name other than his own needs to file a Certificate of Trade Name. The applicant must first go to the Zoning Department. Once that it is done, he comes to our office and for an $5.00 fee places the name of his business on file using the Certificate of Trade Name form. All those conducting or transacting the business must sign the certificate and have it notarized. The information from this document is then indexed in the Land Records.