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Wilton board concerned with general assistance costs for the town

3 mins read

WILTON – The Wilton select board met on Tuesday evening. Prior to the select meeting, three public hearings were held. The first was on a cannabis moratorium. Chairperson Tiffany Maiuri explained how the town does not currently have an adequate way to regulate cannabis operations. This moratorium will prevent any new businesses from starting up for 180 days, not affecting those already in business. It will allow the town time to develop a complete and thorough set of regulations for the location and operation of cannabis businesses and growers. After this is completed, it will be brought to a special town meeting to be voted on. Later in the meeting, the board set the date for the special town meeting as October 17 at 6 p.m., prior to the select meeting scheduled for that evening.

The board held a public hearing on the general assistance maximums. Town Manager Perry Ellsworth explained that there have been some significant increases from last year in housing and food maximums. Maiuri explained to the public that if the board does not vote in favor of these maximums, they will still be required to pay for the program per state mandate, but will not be reimbursed by the state. Recently, the state has ceased paying for the program, leaving the town to pick up on the payments. Ellsworth shared that his concern that they have already gone through the majority of the budget before the cold season has set in; he encouraged the board to consider this discussion in the yearly budget meetings. “We don’t have any shelters,” Ellsworth said. The only alternatives are to send people experiencing homelessness to the hotels in Wilton and the surrounding area.

Later in the meeting, there was more discussion on the topic. Selectperson Mike Wells asked if the town can track how the costs of this program affect the town, specifically the requirement that the town provide GA for people who have been in the town for just one day. “What’s the additional expense to the taxpayers of Wilton based on this legislative decision?” Wells asked. Ellsworth explained that this is indeed possible and can be followed up on. The board ultimately voted unanimously in favor of accepting the maximums.

The final public hearing was on the subject of Mill Street, a road recently discovered to belong to the town. The town has never maintained it. Later, the board voted unanimously for the town to perform summer maintenance on the road and close it to winter maintenance, which will be taken care of by the business on that street as had been done previously.

This meeting was recorded by Mt. Blue TV and is available for viewing online at MtBlueTV.org

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