Voters reject wind power moratorium ordinance

WELD — Voters rejected establishing a six-month moratorium on wind development facilities on Saturday. However, they decided informally to set up a committee to explore options on setting guidelines for commercial facilities to be built in the town.

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Donna M. Perry/Sun Journal

Weld residents vote on an issue at the annual town meeting on Saturday. More than 50 townspeople turned out and agreed to spend nearly $500,000 to operate municipal government for this year In the front row, from left, are Diana Demers, Richard Hall of Dayton, who has a camp on Webb Lake, and Joan and Henry Braun.

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Donna M. Perry/Sun Journal

Seventeen-month-old Mason Tyler of Weld makes his own action during a break Saturday at the annual Weld town meeting.

More than 50 residents turned out for the morning portion of the annual town meeting, but those numbers dwindled in the afternoon as the meeting went on for more than four hours.

Voters approved spending 472,581 to operate municipal government this year. Of that amount, $231,760 will be raised through taxation, not factoring in the town's share of school or county budgets.

Officials did not immediately know what the difference in spending was from last year to this year, but the amount to be raised through taxation was $8,239 less than last year.

Residents agreed to give the town clerk and tax collector, both positions held by Carol Cochran, a 50-cent per hour raise for each job, bringing her hourly rate for each to $14.50.

Voters also voted to give the town's roads and ground foreman three paid holidays — Memorial Day, Labor Day and Columbus Day.

Townspeople also OK'd $28,500 to do a valuation update. The total cost is $57,000.

Selectman Nancy Stowell said that currently, waterfront property is being taxed on 35 percent of its market value, while residential property is being taxed on 70 percent of its value.

“It is time for us to do something,” Stowell said. “Essentially, people who not have waterfront property are subsidizing those who have lakefront property. This will make it more equitable.”

The most talked-about article was one that asked residents what they wanted to do with the $44,451 made from the sale of the former Weld school.

Resident Joanne Stinneford motioned to set up a Weld Community Scholarship Trust Fund. Her husband, Neil Stinneford, who was away, submitted a written proposal to have the scholarship recognize academic excellence and to go each year to one resident senior graduating from Mt. Blue High School in Farmington.

However, concerns were raised that some students who graduate from another school would not be eligible.

Resident Gary Labbe said he was opposed to setting up a scholarship and instead wanted the money to be used to gain public access to Webb Lake.

The town does not own waterfront property and residents, if they don't own property on the lake, have to pay to access it, he said.

Voters decided to take no action on the article and to set up another committee to decide what should be done with the money.

dperry@sunjournal.com

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Comments

 's picture

Noise Poullusion

These windmills roar.They surely do not blend with the enviroment.Its to bad that big business is trying to bring these city like high risers to the beautiful untouched land that we all cherrish so much.And just for a moment think ahead.Just say that our goverment comes up with a alternative fuel in the next 25 years.Then what?Do we now have a space junk yard?I say go somewhere else""

 's picture

wind moratorium

Dear people of Weld:  You live in a slice of paradise.  One of the most beautiful places in Maine.  Quiet, peaceful, starry, black sky at night.  Treasures like Tumbledwon-Jackson, Webb Lake, Mt. Blue State Park.  Wildlife, birds.  You must love living there.

You are a target for several wind developers who don't give a damn about what you value.  Look at all the towns nearby who are being pressured by this development.  A typical wind project will blast holes in your mountains.  Every turbine pad needs a 30 foot deep hole, a quarter acre in size blasted into bedrock to anchor an industrial machine up to 400 feet tall.  The roads needed to bring in the huge turbines (made in China) and 124 foot long blades (made in Brazil) will make Rte 142 look like a cowpath in comparison.  They will destroy your local roads but won't pay for the damage!  You will get aviation lights 24/7 and the roar of a low flying jet that never goes away whenever the wind blows.

Is that what you value about life in Weld?  Be pro-active!  Get the Dixmont ordinance and adapt it for Weld before the wind companies come to town.  They are relentless in their quest to get turbines up to suck up subsidies from the taxpayers.  They will be coming to a ridge near you---I guarantee it!

 

 's picture

Too Bad

I'm sorry to hear this, Weld. You are a *prime* target for wind vultures. I hope you will take your idea of forming a committee seriously and get to work on a wind ordinance before it is too late. Weld is so unique and so special.

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