WILTON – On Tuesday evening, Zachary Gosselin, the Environmental and Resiliency Planner from the Androscoggin Valley Council of Governments, came to the board to discuss the opportunity of the Community Resilience Partnership.
He previously visited the selectboard in December 2022 to inform them about the program allowing certain towns in Maine to put money from the state towards resiliency projects over the next two years. Wilton was eligible for $50,000 in grants to be used in projects determined by the public.
Gosselin returned to the board on Tuesday to assist Wilton in working towards forming this partnership. He shared that many towns across Maine, including Jay and Farmington, are already utilizing this money in projects. He outlined that the partnership emphasizes community involvement and invited the public to give their feedback via a worksheet that he supplied.
The selectboard later discussed the renewal of cannabis licenses for the four cannabis businesses in town: Earth Keeper, PowerPlant, Cannatopia, and HoneyComb Farm. The discussion began with Selectperson Tiffany Maiuri stating that the current fee for license renewal is far too high. Town Manager Perry Ellsworth explained that this fee was set two years ago before they knew what the cost would be for the town.
The license renewal includes an inspection which, according to the business owners present at the meeting, takes no longer than 15 to 20 minutes and, according to the board, does not cost the town much. Selectperson Maiuri suggested that the board decrease the cost and revisit this issue next year if needed.
“I’m more interested in finding businesses more employees than I am in trying to nickel and dime our businesses out of a fee that I consider to be excessive,” Maiuri said.
John Black of Earth Keeper Cannabis questioned the board about the necessity of inspections at all. According to him, no other businesses in town are required to have them and the cannabis businesses are already rigorously inspected by the state several times a year, as well as by Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association, for those organically certified. The board took his comment into account and discussed the inspection ordinance, coming to a general consensus that the town’s inspections are only repeating what has already been inspected on the state level.
After many failed motions, the board passed a motion made by Selectperson Mike Wells that the retail store license fee, which includes inspections, will be $100, until the board is able to take a closer look at the ordinance and adjust as needed. Selectperson Keith Swett then made a motion that the board table the discussion on the rest of the fees until the next meeting when they can be more informed, which passed unanimously. The board then looked at each of the business’s licenses; all were passed on the contingency that the remainder of the fees would be further looked into at the next meeting.
This meeting was recorded by Mt. Blue TV and is available for viewing online at MtBlueTV.org