WILTON — Beginning July 1, water bills are set to go from $48 per quarter to $57 for 1,200 cubic feet or less of usage.

Another increase will take effect July 1, 2020. The two-part increase is needed to meet the costs associated with operating and maintaining the Water Department, town officials say.

Consultant Cathy Robinson of the Maine Rural Water Association said at a public hearing Tuesday the rate increase was somewhat large because rates have not been raised since 1993. The Maine Public Utilities Commission recommends rate review every three to five years, she said.

The rate increase would be filed with the PUC in 10 days and, if there is no petition to contest the rates. The first increase of almost 12.7% would be effective July 1 and reflected in the October bill, she said.

A second increase of almost 16.6% will be effective July 1, 2020, she said.

Taxpayers will also absorb a total of $30,000 over the next two years for fire protection costs associated with the increase, Robinson said.


Also Tuesday night, voters approved submitting a $330,000 economic development grant application. The competitive grant application is for two Wilson Stream Business Park businesses owned by John and Corey Black of Wilton.

If approved, John Black said, the funds would be used for the expansion of Rocky Hill Landscaping’s Earth Keeper Farm and soil-bagging facility, and for development of the New England Hemp Institute. The business plan totals $2.74 million, he said.

The institute will be a hemp drying facility capable of drying 20,000 pounds of hemp per hour. It will also provide hemp seedlings and hemp research, development and genetic storage through its cell tissue lab, Black said.

“We will be the only commercial hemp dryer in the country capable of drying hemp at this volume,” he said.

There would be no odor associated with the drying process, he said.

“We will be hiring 11 new positions,” Black said. “Wilton residents will have priority for these positions. More than 50% of the jobs will go to low- to moderate-income households.”


Community Development Block Grant money is awarded to local governments to assist businesses in creating or retaining jobs. The town applies for the grant and then administers it and ensures requirements are followed, Town Manager Rhonda Irish said.

Residents also considered a proposed Varnum Pond drinking water protection ordinance.

“We are not changing anything,” said Heinz Gossman, superintendent of the Water and Sewer Department. “This is just so everyone knows there is no swimming on the pond.”

Residents are scheduled to vote on the ordinance at the June 17 town meeting.

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