Wilton town meeting scheduled for this evening

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WILTON – Residents will gather in the parking lot of the former Western Maine Development building at 6 p.m. Monday evening to set the town budget and decide on a series of proposed ordinances.

Wilton’s town meeting was postponed by the COVID-19 pandemic and associated social distancing-related restrictions. Monday’s meeting will be held outdoors, at a parking lot located at 128 Weld Road near the former Barclays building.

The 59-article warrant includes a recommended municipal budget of $3.39 million from the Board of Selectpersons – representing a $62,078 increase over the previous fiscal year. Increases are due to contractual obligations, such as salaries and benefit costs, as well as an increase in the Public Fire Protection costs.

The Finance Committee is recommending a similar budget, with the largest difference represented by the committee’s lack of a recommendation to fund the Wilton Free Public Library. A budget of $122,350 was initially proposed for the library, with selectpersons unanimously recommending $111,438. The committee voted on the proposed budget for the library and was evenly divided, 3 to 3. The committee then voted 4 to 2 to issue no recommendation regarding the library this year.

Selectpersons are also recommending reductions in equipment and supply lines for the fire department, highway department and recreation program budgets as compared to the Finance Committee proposals, as well as $1,000 less for the Franklin County Chamber of Commerce. The Finance Committee is recommending the town support Seniors Plus at the requested amount of $3,000, while the board is recommending not funding the outside agency. The total difference between the recommendations – not factoring in the library recommendation – would be roughly $20,000.

If approved by residents, Tax Increment Financing district funds out of the Comfort Inn TIF would be used to pay $30,000 of debt service for the wastewater treatment plant. Selectpersons are also recommending TIF funds pay the seventh of 11 payments on the town’s Quint Fire Truck; the Finance Committee is instead recommending using $20,000 out of the TIF and raising and appropriating the other $34,441 out of the local assessment. Both board and committee are recommending funding three payments out of the Undesignated Fund: $50,000 to go toward the foot of Wilson Lake’s retaining wall project; $10,000 toward future maintenance and repair of the Wilson Stream Dam and bank; and $100,000 to go toward repaying a Department of Environmental Protection/Department of Economic & Community Development grant for the demolition of Forster Mill.

The warrant also includes a number of proposed ordinances, including an Energy/Transportation Conduits proposal that would regulate any aboveground conduit that runs through Wilton. The ordinance requires setbacks for towers, allow for adequate vegetated buffer zones and would prohibit permitting ETCs in the Varnum Pond Watershed Overlay district and in some residential and recreational zones.

Another ordinance would make exploding targets, such as Tannerite, unlawful within town limits.

Marijuana retail facilities will also be on the warrant, with Article 4 asking residents if they want to accept an ordinance that will clarify procedures for adult use and medical marijuana stores, cultivation facilities, manufacturing facilities and testing facilities, providing the selectpersons with the authority to issue or renew licenses.

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