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Frequently Asked Questions
Office of the Town Clerk

Who, What, When, Where and How?

      Who are we, what do we do, when do you come to see us and how do we do our job?  These are questions asked on a daily basis.  This is an attempt to provide an informational packet to you, our residents, taxpayers and guests to assist you when you visit Town Hall and to endeavor to answer your questions.  If there is something with which we cannot assist you, we will point you in the right direction.  If there is a question to which we do not know the answer, we will get it for you.  We are here to serve you.

What Do We Do?

    Our most important function is to provide customer service.  Invariably, people who do not know what agency to go to in Town Hall will come to the Town Clerk’s Office to seek information or direction. We attempt to provide that to them.  Our duties are varied and many.  However, we do not issue transfer station stickers /decals which may be obtained at the  transfer station between 8:00 A.M. thru 4:00 P.M., Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday which is when the transfer station is open.  Documents showing your address in town (Driver’s License, Car Registration, Electric Bill, Tax Receipt etc) are accepted documents for proof of residency.  We Do Not  issue passports in this office.  Colchester or New London Post Offices have the applications.

Land Records

    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, volume and page, State or Town conveyance tax collected, if any, and calculate the recording fees.  The conveyance tax is  based on 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.  Effective Dec. 1, 2017 there is a $60.00 charge for recording page one of a document, with an additional charge of $5.00 for each additional page.  If the mortgage, assignment or release has Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems (MERS) as a party to the document, the first page is $159.00, with an additional charge of $5.00 for each additional page.  If the document is a taxable conveyance of property, we must assess 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.  A Connecticut Real Estate Conveyance Tax form must always accompany the deed, stating the price conveyance paid.

    The document is then indexed into our computer system and a list is run off. It is edited and corrected if needed, and put into a daybook, which is a chronological index of documents received.  At the end of the week, pages for our record books are printed out and entered into our Grantor/Grantee indices.  These are the master indices for all documents recorded in our office.  The original documents are mailed back to the addressee designated.  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 at $1.00 per printed side.  At the end of each month, the data is sent on a CD to Adkins who processes the data and puts the images onto microfilm which is then stored at a facility, Cornerstone Records Management, for safekeeping.  Documents are being processed so quickly that the originals can sometimes be returned same day.  We prefer to hold them for further examination of detail.

    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, Declarations, Foreclosures, Name Changes, and many, many more.

Maps and 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 processes, signatures and seals on a map or a mylar as it is commonly called.  

     Maps are also entered into the computer system for indexing and then printed out for our map indices.  At this time we have approximately 2000 maps on file.  After we have accumulated about 30 or 40 maps, they are sent out for microfilming.  Paper copies of all maps are available upon request. A large map (2’x3’) costs $5.00.  Half sheet sizes (1’x1.6’) are $2.50.  Legal-sized maps are $1.00.

Flood Maps

    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.

Retention Schedules & Disposal Records

The Town Clerk’s Office maintains Retention Schedules 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. Records Retention Schedules approved by the Office of the Public Records Administrator are retained as permanent records in the Town Clerk's office vault.

Notary Public

    Notary Public services are provided at the Town Clerk’s Office.  There is a Notary Public, also, in the Tax Collector’s Office and the Finance Specialist's Office.

     When notarizing a document, the Notary is required to see a photo ID.  A passport or driver’s license are acceptable forms of identification.  A Social Security card is not.  If a Notary is uncomfortable with the document, she is not required to notarize it.  We do not notarize blank documents in Town Hall.  Wills should be executed under the guidance of an attorney.  There is no fee for notary services for Town residents during office hours.

    A resident wishing to become a Notary Public may receive, from our office, an application and a Notary handbook.  Once the application is processed by the applicant, they forward it  to the Office of the Secretary of the State in Hartford with a $120.00 fee.  When it is received back by the applicant, it is brought into our office where the oath is given and a signature card is signed and put on file with the Town Clerk.  There is a statutory $20.00 fee for this service.  We keep a card file of all Notaries who are residents of Salem.

Fish & Game Licenses
(For more information, go to the CT State Dept. of Environmental Protection Website)

    As of January, 2009 this office no longer sells game licenses.  The CT DEEP has gone paperless. Some area towns such as of East Lyme and Colchester will sell licenses as they have the DEEP Kiosks (Dedicated computers) for that purpose.  Also you may purchase the licenses online at the DEEP website:

Writs, summons and 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 our Town Attorney, the First Selectman and the Department involved.  This is a public record and is open for public inspection.

Dog Licenses
June is Dog License Month!!

    The month of June is when all dogs in Connecticut are to be licensed.  We process approximately 550 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, with expiration date, MUST BE presented.  This certificate is provided by the Veterinarian.  Also if the dog is neutered or spayed, that certificate should be 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.

Trade Name Certificate

    Anyone conducting business in Salem under a name other than his own, needs to file a Certificate of Trade Name.  These forms are available at the Town Clerk's office. There is a filing fee of $10.00.  The form must be signed and notarized in front of a Notary.  The original document is returned to the individual and a paper copy is filed with our records and becomes a permanent part of an alphabetical index of businesses in Salem.

Liquor Permits

    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 with a Town Seal.  A fee of $20.00 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

Veterans’ Discharges

    All veterans who have served during war time should have their original discharge papers or DD214’s filed with the Town Clerk’s office.  There is no charge for this service. The document is copied into a permanent, safe-guarded record book and indexed in an alphabetical index on the computer, for easy reference.  The Town of Salem gives an exemption of approximately $6000 off the Assessed Value of your Real Estate Taxes.  The Assessor’s office is available for other exemption-related questions. (860) 859-3873 Ext. 130.

Vital Statistics

    The Town Clerk’s Office is the repository for all vital records – births, marriages, deaths, adoptions, burial certificates, cremation permits, etc.  If the “event” occurred outside of Salem, the original is filed in the town where it occurred and a certified copy is filed in the town of residence (Salem).  If the “event” occurred in Salem, the original certificate remains here and certified copies are sent to the town of residence of the party or parties involved.

    Connecticut General Statute Sec. 7-51a(a), which governs access to death records, states, in pertinent part:

    “Any person eighteen years of age or older may purchase certified copies of marriage and death records, and certified copies of records of births or fetal deaths which are at least one hundred years old, in the custody of any registrar of vital statistics.  The Department may issue uncertified copies of death certificates for deaths occurring less than one hundred years ago, and uncertified copies of birth, marriage, death and fetal death certificates for births, marriages, deaths and fetal deaths that occurred at least one hundred years ago, to researchers approved by the Department pursuant to section 19a-25, and to state and federal agencies approved by the Department.  During all normal business hours, members of genealogical societies incorporated or authorized by the Secretary of the State to do business or conduct affairs in the state shall (1) have full access to all vital records in the custody of any registrar of vital statistics, including certificates, ledgers, record books, card files, indexes and database printouts...
      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 (does not contain all information but is good for students to carry)

    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 birth may be issued if the event occurred in Salem or if the decedent or applicant was a resident of the Town of Salem.  The fee for a certified copy is $20.00.  We can only issue certified copies.  

     Marriage licenses are issued in Salem for marriages taking place in Salem, effective October 1, 2009.  Blood tests are no longer required.  There is no waiting period between application and issuance. The fee for the license is $50.00 with $34.00 of the fee going to the State of Connecticut.

    Upon issuance of the license, the applicants are advised to give the license to the person officiating the ceremony.  The license will ultimately be returned to the Town Clerk by the Officiant in the town where the marriage takes place and it becomes a permanent record.  A certified copy may be obtained for a fee of $20.00 from the town where the ceremony takes place or the town of residence.

   Marriage Statutes:  Sec. 46b-28 Validity of marriages celebrated in a foreign country.  All marriages in which one or both parties are citizens of this state (CT), celebrated in a foreign country, shall be valid, provided: (1) Each party would have legal capacity to contract such marriage in this state and the marriage is celebrated in conformity with the law of that country; or (2) the marriage is celebrated, in the presence of the ambassador or minister to that country from the United States or in the presence of a consular officer of the United States accredited to such country, at a place within his consular jurisdiction, by any ordained or licensed clergyman engaged in the work of the ministry in any state of the United States or in any foreign country.)

                                      Sec. 46b-28a Recognition of marriages and other relationships entered into in another state or jurisdiction.  A marriage, or a relationship that provides substantially the same rights, benefits and responsibilities as a marriage, between two persons entered into in another state or jurisdiction and recognized as valid by such other state or jurisdiction shall be recognized as a valid marriage in this state, provide such marriage or relationship is not expressly prohibited by statute in this state.

(If same-sex couples wish to marry the same partners they had in a civil union, it is allowed without dissolution.  If the civil union took place with a different individual, a marriage would not be valid.  (Contact an attorney).

                                    Sec. 46b-28b Recognition by another state or jurisdiction of marriages entered into in this state.  A marriage license between two persons entered into in this state and recognized as valid in this state may be recognized as a marriage, or a relationship that provides substantially the same rights, benefits and responsibilities as a marriage, in another state or jurisdiction if one or both persons travel to or reside in such other state or jurisdiction.  

     Copies of all vitals which take place in Connecticut are sent monthly to the Department of Public Health of the State of Connecticut where records for the entire State are kept.

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 1, 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.  The dates are also noted on a calendar outside the main meeting room in Town Hall. A copy is posted outside on the posting board and the dates are noted on our Website calendar and under each Board and Commission departments.

    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 $ .50 per page.

    Posting boards are maintained out back by the parking lot and the Town website is updated to inform you of upcoming meetings.


    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 the Secretary of the State.  The Town Clerk must keep the Secretary of State informed as to any vacancies in an elective office whether by death or resignation.  Boards, Commissions and Committees are responsible for notifying the Town Clerk’s office when a position has been vacated or filled.  They need to send letters of resignation to the Town Clerk for filing.  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 and the office of the Registrar of Voters 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 staff before the 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 or from the Registrar of Voters. Voter registration can also be completed online with the link found on both the Registrar of Voters and Town Clerk's web page.  

Town Meetings

    The Town Clerk is the recording clerk for all Special/Annual 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.

Campaign Finance

    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, State Elections Enforcement Commission.

Justice of the Peace

    Justices of the Peace are endorsed by the Town Committees.  For a short period, unaffiliated voters are allowed to apply to become a Justice and are appointed by the Town Clerk.  Justices must then come into the Town Clerk’s Office to be sworn in and to prepare a signature card for filing. This card shows not only their legal signature but shows their term of office.  The Town Clerk prepares a list of Justices which may be given to applicants for marriage licenses.  A handbook is given to the Justice.  This book shows what duties they may perform and also contains a few samples of marriage ceremonies.  This office maintains a list of all Justices of the Peace for marriage ceremonies.


    The Connecticut General Statutes are housed in the Town Clerk’s Office.  Many people come in to use them for reference.  To view State Statutes online, please go to  We also have copies of Annual Town Reports dating back to 1899, which have been bound in hard-cover books for easier handling.  Originals are in archival boxes for safekeeping.  These are a great source of information.

     The Name Change form is used for people who own property in town and have had a change of name due to marriage, divorce, court decree or annulment.  This form must be notarized and filed in the town clerk’s office.  Effective Dec. 1, 2017, there is a $60.00 filing fee for a single printed page.

    Burn permits and pistol permit applications are obtained from the Town Clerk's Office.

When Do You Come to Us?

    We are here to serve you Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and Thursday 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.  Friday we are Closed, unless an appointment has been made.
We are happy to answer your questions, or to help in any way we can.

Who Do I See for.......?

First Selectman - a complaint, a compliment, a request to be put on the agenda for a
Selectmen’s meeting, a mailbox shortened by a snow plow, a dead animal on a Town road or for
any number of things that might involve our public works department

Assessor - a copy of a street card or assessor’s tax map, information on Real Estate, personal
property or motor vehicle assessments, info and applications for elderly benefits, veteran’s
exemptions, farm or forest land requests, and exempt organizations.

Tax Collector - to pay your Real Estate or Property taxes, to get information on back taxes

Probate Court - anything to do with an adoption, a change of name, a will or the handling of
an estate, conservatorship, getting a passport. We are now a part of the 32nd Probate District.
The Honorable Jeffrey A. McNamara is the Probate Judge.  Our Probate Court is now located at 118 Pennsylvania Avenue, Niantic, CT 06357, Monday through Friday 8:30 am to 4:30 pm.

Finance Office and Treasurer - to get payroll information, billing information, budget data and all financial information, town finances, budgets and appropriations.

Planning & Zoning - to subdivide a property, to get invaluable data on land use, info on  
zoning usage, what’s allowed and what is not, what can be located on a particular piece of
property and what cannot

Zoning Board of Appeals – handles disputes brought in regarding zoning, such as variances
and special uses/exceptions

Inland-Wetlands Conservation – matters concerning wetlands

Building Official - inspects new construction and remodeling for compliance, issues
building permits

Public Works - all town roadways, drainage, snowplowing, dead animals etc., street signs

Registrar of Voters - here to assist you in registering to vote, keeper of voting lists for the
entire town and election officials charged with procuring poll workers and all those affiliated
with the voting machines and for the maintenance of the machines, etc.

Recreation Commission - handles recreation programs for the Town and various playing
fields, walking trails, Christmas tree lighting ceremonies and town field trips

Library – books, videos, CD’s, reference materials, reading programs, musical concerts

Municipal Agent for the Elderly - Pamela Henry handles all programs for the elderly, maintains  
buses and transportation availability for seniors.  A coordinator sets up trips for seniors, which
the agent usually makes available to the public.

Animal Control Officer - Please call Montville Animal Control Officer, Christian Swanson, at 860-848-3529.

This web page is published as an attempt to acquaint you with the services offered by the Town of Salem.  It is in no way a complete accounting of what each department or agency does but just a general idea to let you know in which direction to go for information.  Our most important function is to serve you, the public, in an efficient and courteous manner.  If at any time, we can assist you or answer any of your questions, please let us know.  This is an information publication of the Town of Salem, Office of the Town Clerk.


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270 Hartford Road, Salem, CT 06420 | 860-859-3873|
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