Voters reject wind power moratorium ordinance

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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.

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.

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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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