WILTON — The Board of Selectpersons voted unanimously Tuesday, Feb. 5 to schedule a public hearing and special town meeting to address continued support of Central Maine Power’s transmission line and cleanup of the former Forster Manufacturing site.

“Originally, I was going to suggest the select board remove support of the CMP project and remain neutral,” Selectperson Tom Saviello said.

The town filed as an intervener in October 2017, but has not rescinded its initial support of the $950 million, 145-mile New England Clean Energy Connect transmission line, which will deliver power generated by Hydro-Quebec in Quebec to users in Massachusetts. The line through Maine would begin in Beattie Township in Franklin County and extend east and south into Somerset, Androscoggin and Cumberland counties.

A settlement conference was held Tuesday with Public Utilities Commission hearing examiners, CMP, the Office of Public Advocate and the Industrial Energy Consumers Group, Saviello said.

“They issued an order of a settlement agreement,” he said. “It was a confidential meeting, so I cannot talk about the settlement at this time. Rather than a select board decision, I think this needs to be a decision of the town.”

He said more information would be available before the meeting so citizens would be able to decide whether to continue their support or be neutral.

Voters will also consider accepting funding for Forster Manufacturing cleanup.

The town has been awarded a $150,000 grant and a $150,000 loan through Androscoggin Valley Council of Governments, and a $100,000 grant and $100,000 loan through the Maine Department of Environmental Protection.

EnviroVantage of Epping, New Hampshire, completed initial asbestos removal and demolition last year, clearing about half of the site. The company submitted a quote of $348,895 to complete the remaining demolition and cleanup, Town Manager Rhonda Irish said.

The former mill has been used to manufacture automotive upholstery, wood products and plastic cutlery over its more than 100 years. The property was acquired by the town in 2015.

Prior to Tuesday’s meeting, the board held a workshop with representatives from Ransom Consulting of Portland, the engineering firm overseeing the project.
The first phase was time-consuming because EnviroVantage salvaged material from the site, said Jamie Madore, project engineer. There are no plans to salvage material in the second phase so the work should be completed within three months of the start date, she added.

Saviello said former mill workers have asked if they could acquire a brick or other material from the site.

“We also want to be able to salvage the boiler door,” said chairperson Tiffany Maiuri. “It has significant historical value to the town.”

Madore stated some bricks could possibly be taken off site to a location where they could be distributed. The requests could be worked into the contract with EnviroVantage, she said.

“If everything is approved, the work is expected to begin in March and should be wrapped up by the end of June,” Madore said.

“We are looking forward to completion and finishing what we started,” said Maiuri.

The public hearing, required to accept funding, will be held Tuesday, March 5, at 6 p.m. at the Town Office. The special town meeting will be held immediately after the hearing.

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