WILTON — With alternative energies on the increase, Wilton’s Select Board discussed the need to consolidate its ordinances surrounding energy permitting and development Tuesday evening.

Board member Tom Saviello cited wind, hydro, underground projects, and Central Maine Power’s proposed 145-mile transmission line through Western Maine as reasons for the town to review its current zoning structure.

“I see current proposals as the beginning of many more. We need to work on our policy so that it’s all in one place and complete.”

The Board discussed a moratorium on energy applications while a committee review ordinances and identified areas to formalize.

Board member David Leavitt asked for clarification: would they need to reword ordinances or create new ones, which would be the responsibility of the Planning Board.

Select members agreed that utilizing the Planning Board was appropriate. However, they had to consider putting a moratorium in place. If deemed necessary, it would have to get voter approval.

CMP also figured into the Manager Report Rhonda Irish’s report to the Select Board.

CMP, as required by law, met with the Wilton Fire Department to discuss history of fires happening within the proposed transmission corridor.

Saviello countered that going CMP going town by town is a gimmick and he expects that Franklin county will respond on behalf of all towns that would be affected by CMP’s project.

“It’s divide and conquer,” he stressed. “The County needs to question CMP on all the towns’ behalf – what is CMP’s fire plan? How are first responders to deal with DC current problems? These requests need to be put on record.”

Wilton Town Manager Rhonda Irish, left, presents her report to selectpersons Tuesday evening. Franklin Journal photo by Nicole Carter Franklin Journal photo by Nicole Carter

Other business

In other business, Irish reported that the Forster Mill abatement is making progress in phases. Windows, which had hazardous components, have now been removed and the building is being razed. She said considerations for future use of the property will be pending, including possibilities for commercial development.

Heinz Grossman from the Water and Sewer Department has reviewed and updated procedures and fees, including a standard renewal of the town’s contract with North Jay. He made recommendations on town fees and submitted the new contracts for the Board.

Some seasonal road maintenance projects have been completed, Public Works Foreman Dale Roberts reported. Hathaway Road is being ditched in preparation for paving. Culverts will be replaced throughout the rest of the summer. Pond Road will be closed for one week, starting Aug. 26.

Public Works has had an ongoing headache with the sidewalk tractor, which is in for at least the third hydraulic pump failure. Roberts said Kubota will have to have an alternative machine available, should the town be without sidewalk snow removal again next winter.

Irish said several town properties have auctioned. Two of three recent sales have been finalized. A fourth, on Webb Street, received no bids, but a local real estate agent confirmed the minimum was within its overall value.

With four more properties ready to be put up for auction, the Board agreed to include the third and fourth parcels with the next round. If the Webb Street piece still receives no bids in the next auction, it will then be listed with a real estate agent for of six months.

Irish reminded the Board about road closures during the Blueberry Festival on Aug. 2 and 3. The boat ramp will be closed to the public while festival boat rides take place Friday afternoon and fireworks Saturday evening. A section of Main Street between Food City and High Street will also be shut down for the parade and Saturday’s events. Irish will contact Maine Department of Transportation about the town’s plans.

Other business included Select Board members being assigned their annual appointments. Saviello will join the Recycling Committee, Tiffany Maiuri – Parks and Recreation, Leavitt – Road and Cemetery Committees, Phil Hilton – Police, and Keith Swett – Downtown committees.

Salaries for part-time and seasonal employees are being assessed and updated to conform to minimum wage law. The Board approved the Police Department request to send out RFPs for new vehicles, and the Fire Department was granted permission to purchase budgeted fire gear. Wilton’s contract with the Franklin County Animal Shelter is being renewed, with nothing out of the ordinary expected.

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