WILTON – Conversations regarding a partnership between the Wilton and North Jay Water Departments continued at last night’s Wilton Selectboard meeting. Wilton’s Water and Wastewater Department Superintendent Heinz Gossman attended, discussing a feasibility study to be conducted by Maine Rural Water on the possibility of combining the districts.
“The study would be to see if combining those water districts would even be possible. It would also look at contract opportunity capabilities,” said Gossman.
The feasibility study, which was approved by the Selectboard, will take between 2 and 4 months and will cost between $1,000 and $1,500, with the 50/50 grant the town has secured to pay the remaining amount. Conducting the study doesn’t mean any partnership will take place, simply whether or not its possible.
With Wilton’s operator Mark Wells retiring in June, the town is also looking for some kind of partnership to check water meters.
The selectboard also approved Gossman’s budget for both the water and sewer department for 2021.
Jennifer Scott, from the Wilton Public Library attended the meeting and presented her yearly report. After a year of managing what she terms “the covid curve” of circulation and borrowing rates, the library is looking at a successful year in 2021. In December, they secured a Diversity Bookfinder grant which provides funds for children’s and young reader picture books to teach and encourage diversity.
“We purchased those from Kenny at DDG to keep it local. Those books are already starting to come in,” said Scott. Currently, there are still no in-person activities, but the virtual offerings such as children’s storytime are still taking place.
The town’s Broadband Committee, which met last week to discuss progress on their initiative to bring broadband to a wider population, is asking for Wilton residents to complete a survey.
“It’s important to get a good understanding for what people have on internet services and what they would like from internet services,” said Town Manager Rhonda Irish.
The survey can be completed on Wilton’s town website or their Facebook page, and can also be taken in-person at the Wilton Town Office.
Wilton is hoping for community involvement from those wishing to join the Budget Committee. The committee is looking for two new members to join and should contact the town office if they’re interested.
Code Enforcement Officer Charlie Lavin presented his year-end report as well. In 2020, the town collected $2,500 from businesses obtaining medical marijuana licenses. So far, they have already approved 3 medical marijuana caregiver retail licenses.
Per a community member’s request that it be added to the night’s agenda, Irish asked the board if they would consider the possibility of billing insurance companies for debris cleanup after accidents, as opposed to leaving the responsibility and cost for other departments.
“A town in the next county over has been pursuing this,” said Irish, though she was unsure of the success of the stipulation. The board approved that she move forward with its feasibility.
Irish has also been in contact with Wilton’s ATV club to continue the installment of ATV trail signs from the access Rail Trail to the downtown area. For now, further progress is in the ATV club’s hands as they have to submit an application for a permit as well as a letter of support from the town in order to move forward with obtaining approval from Maine Department of Transportation. Board members Tiffany Maiuri and Tom Saviello supported the idea of holding a public hearing once the ATV club completes their application.
After months of hosting their meetings strictly over Zoom, the Selectboard is still looking for a way to transition to hosting in-person meetings again. Though board member Phil Hilton is heading the search for the technology required to host and record in-person meetings, Irish said that even if the town does secure the means for a transition, she’s not sure it will be complete.
“I fully anticipate that these combination zoom and in-person meetings continue after the pandemic,” said Irish.