Jane Farrell and Melissa Schultz

Jane Farrell and Melissa Schultz -- Town Offices

Jane and MelissaThe office of Town Clerk is as old as the town. An act passed in 1693 stated that the Clerk had to provide a quarterly report of all marriages, births and deaths to the Provincial Register. Wilton has had one since 1739 when the town, then called “No. 2,” separated from the earlier grant of Salem-Canada. The first Clerk was elected, or appointed, at the first meeting of the town proprietors.

Other early acts outlined the duties of the Clerk: recording the minutes of town meetings, including a copy of the warrant, a record of all votes taken, administering the oaths of office and recording names of all officers.

By 1800, the Clerk was required to maintain records of selectmen’s assessments, sale of land for taxes, attachments, liens and mortgages and correspondence with the state.  From 1754, the Clerk was required to draw names for jurors. Those names are now selected in Concord from voting lists and car registrations.

All of those things are still required of the Clerk, and a lot more.

Jane Farrell was hired as Town Clerk and Deputy Tax Collector in 1988 following the passing of Town Clerk & Tax Collector Sandra Trow.  She was appointed Tax Collector in 1990.  The 2019 Town Meeting voted to change the position from an elected Town Clerk & appointed Tax Collector to a combined elected Town Clerk & Tax Collector.

Jane was born in Connecticut and moved with her family to Amherst NH in 1968.  Her family later moved to Lyndeborough in 1975 where she attended Wilton-Lyndeborough Co-op.  After graduating from the University of New Hampshire in 1983 she worked in local ski area marketing and became a licensed Real Estate agent and later a Real Estate Broker. 

Melissa Schultz is a native of Acworth NH.  She is a graduate of Fall Mountain Regional High School and Hesser College. She previously lived in Manchester where she worked as an Executive Secretary at Raytheon (and met her husband Tom). After moving to Wilton in 1998, she worked as a tax preparer.  She began working as an Assistant to the Town Clerk & Tax Collector in 2011 and became Deputy Town Clerk & Tax Collector in 2015.

Melissa’s mother-in-law Barbara Schultz was the Deputy Town Clerk in the 70’s and 80’s, before there were computers in the office.  There have been a lot of changes, Jane said. “The town voted to buy its first computer in 1987. “We evolved together,” she said, recalling the office had “one computer, one printer, and one phone line with a rotary dial phone. I learned to calculate car registrations by hand and then type them.”  She credited former Selectman Stuart Draper with encouraging modernization.  Melissa said, “By the time I came, everything was fully computerized.”

Town OfficesThe Clerk & Collector’s office still does all the traditional duties, but responsibilities have grown over time.  Besides the traditional auto registrations, voting, vital records, dog licensing, taxes (property, current use, excavation, and yield), and water/sewer billing, the office processes paperwork for the Recycling Center, Police, Building & Land Use, Public Works and Fire Department. “We are responsible for processing, verifying and depositing approximately 89% of town revenues” said Jane. Reports are generated daily, weekly and monthly and distributed to the appropriate departments.  Monthly reports are also published on the town website (click HERE).

The office is also an information clearing house. “We get every kind of odd and sometimes weird question.  It is never boring what will be asked by the public.  It can be typical questions such a Genealogy inquiries, what films are in the theatre, or how do I refinance my car”, said Jane.

Publishing of vital statistics has also changed because of privacy laws. They agreed that is hard on genealogists since the data previously listed is no longer recorded, such as ages and parents’ names.

“People think doing on-line transactions makes it easier for us,” Melissa said, “but it doesn’t, it’s just a different way for people to pay, and they can avoid standing in line at our office.  The work we need to complete is the same as if the customer is here in front of us.” And as the state makes changes to things and programs are updated, it all has to be learned. “We are never bored,” she said. “No two days are the same.”  “We are keeping busy,” Jane said, “with all the other things we do, like at this time we are preparing the annual town report.”

Assisting Jane and Melissa in keeping the work moving is Anne Setaro (who is also Deputy Town Clerk in Greenfield) who joined the office in May of 2021 and has been a great asset.

Public walk in hours have changed a little since the town office reopened, after being closed by Covid, but things are gradually getting back to normal. Some forms are available in outside boxes, and a lot of people do business online or through the dropbox or by mail.  The office is open, and everything is getting done. But do please wear a mask.

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