Wilton selectboard receives department updates, discuss referendum questions

8 mins read

WILTON – The Wilton selectboard met Tuesday night, first approving the minutes of the last meeting and then opening the floor to public comment.

The selectboard heard from Chris Lynch of Matrix Design Group about broadband delays because of cost. The grant money they’ve been waiting for to cover a third of the cost of the development project is not available to them yet, but Lynch proposed a way to move forward and recover the cost later, believing it wouldn’t be fair to make people wait longer for broadband.

“In order to make sure all the funds are secured, we’re willing to fund it. We would like to get our money back, so what we’re proposing is a fee on top of the monthly charge for broadband, just for the people who are subscribing. We expect the fee to be five dollars. We expect it to be less than that, though, because we really feel that with all the money the state’s received for broadband that we should get the grant the next round,” Lynch said.

They have drafted a memorandum of understanding explaining that they will be soliciting people to sign up for service and for the town to reapply for those grants through ConnectMaine.

After closing public comment, chairperson David Leavitt went on to go over the proposed marijuana fees. No changes were made to the previously proposed fees, but town manager Rhonda Irish did address the question of proposed fees for at-home medical caregivers based on state laws.

“If you’re a medical marijuana caregiver or even a store owner, you’re entitled to have some anonymity, which means that, say you’re cultivating on-site where your store is and you may have some growers in there, any of your growers for medical marijuana, you block out their name,” Irish said. “The law allows for them to be made private, so we don’t know who they are…that’s the way the law reads…so until some of the laws change for the home ones, they’re pretty protected; we just don’t know who they are.”

Selectperson Tiffany Maiuri motioned to approve the fees structure, and this returned a unanimous vote.

The selectboard then moved on to hear information regarding Franklin county referendum question 2 from Representative Randall Hall.

“About three years ago…Representative Tina Riley from down in Jay put a bill in to change the Franklin County commissioners from three to five. At the time she had a lot of support, but it died because of the way the wording was done in the legislature, so it didn’t actually pass. This time it did, so that’s why it’s on the ballot,” Hall said. “It’s been brought to our attention that there are certain areas of the county that aren’t being properly represented; you got 60% of your revenue from the county is coming from northern Franklin county…they’re only represented by one person on the board, and that particular person didn’t feel that they were having a fair shake.”

Hall went on to summarize how the five proposed commissioners would be representing districts within Franklin county and how that would reflect in the budget before asking if there were any questions.

Selectperson Maiuri expressed her support for further representation.

Hall pointed out that every other county in the state, except one, has five commissioners.

Leavitt then moved on to the next item on the agenda, the appointment of appeals board member Maxine Collins. Irish explained that there hadn’t been a meeting in so long that this appointment was a matter of catching up on some paperwork. Maiuri moved to approve Collins, and the vote was unanimous.

Next on the agenda for review was the Events Coordinator job description. After going over the job description and making a few minor changes, the main concern was hours and pay rate for the position based on preferred qualifications and where that funding would come from. Maiuri suggested a pay range for flexibility. Irish suggested a warrant article for a special town meeting to vote to take funding for this year out of tax increment financing because it would fall under economic development.

Maiuri motioned to approve the job description as is, and the vote to approve was unanimous.

The selectboard then heard the recreation department report. Soccer season was summarized, which included a brief synopsis of how covid affected the season. Decal Gymnastics is looking to return to working with students, but has no set date. The slides at Kineowatha playground are to be replaced now that the busy season is over. Over the past weekend, the reunion building was broken into and will need some repairs. The director suggested installing security cameras for the next busy season to catch such incidents. The selectboard asked about the music in park success and went over parking concerns having received complaints about handicapped parking vehicles being blocked in by other attendants.

Selectperson Keith Swett motioned to accept the report, which was approved unanimously.

The manager’s report consisted of a reminder that the next selectboard meeting will take place at the fire station because of election day, and a brief update about the project on Gilbert street south.

“It’s out of our hands; it’s moving slowly…the homeowner has been nothing but so much cooperative in doing her best from day one…in trying to do everything she can to get her situation taken care of,” Irish said. “Still working very closely with Western Maine Community Action and they are just trying to overcome some obstacles that have been put in their way and hopefully we’ll see a good resolution coming up in the next few weeks.”

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