WILTON — The budget committee convened on Monday, March 29, to hear from nonprofit representatives asking the town to incorporate funding into the 2021-2022 budget to support resident services.

Tina Chapman from Kennebec Behavioral Health which has not been funded by Wilton in the past, asked for $300. The nonprofit has been serving Franklin County for the past five years with an office at 115 Mt. Blue Circle in Farmington.

“For folks who live in Wilton, we’ve served over the last fiscal year, we’ve served 52 people,” Chapman said. “We served them almost 900 times, so those are the number of visits; sometimes they’re units that are then in 15- minute increments and sometimes they’re by the hour.”

The nonprofit offers physical therapy services, behavioral health home services and case management for adults and children.

“Probably the largest number of people from Wilton have been served by our med clinic which provides psychiatric services and psychiatric medication for people with severe and persistent mental illness,” Chapman said. 

Community Concepts which was not funded by the town last year, requested $2,000 to continue its services to Wilton which include fuel assistance, transportation, prevention of child abuse and neglect through home visits.

“In the past year, Community Concepts has invested over $379,000 to helping the residents of Wilton,” Director of Development Ruby Bean said. “We have served approximately 153 families and I say families because a group of them are from Head Start, so we don’t just serve the children in our programs but we serve the whole family with wraparound services.” 

Charlie Woodworth of Greater Franklin Development Council requested $4,000, the same as last year, and referred to progress made on a six-town initiative to expand broadband access in the area.

Woodworth also urged the committee and those watching the Zoom meeting to petition the Franklin County commissioners to consider funding nonprofits again in the county budget.

“I would encourage every budget committee member, everyone on this call, to contact the commissioners that you know and express your desire to see these, if you believe that these organizations are worth funding, which I do, express your desire to see us funded through the county budget where the distribution of support is much more equitable,” Woodworth said. “Every town gets to share in the support of these organizations because every town benefits from the good work that these organizations do.” 

Life Flight, Maine’s only emergency air service, requested the same amount as the previous two years, $1,029. Last year, the service provided transportation to eight Wilton residents.

New Beginnings, a youth homeless outreach organization that has offered shelter and transitional living to Wilton and Farmington area youth since 1990, requested the same amount as the previous two years, $500.

“In the Franklin County area we do outreach case management and that also covers Wilton, and what we would do is go out and find anybody that would be at risk of homelessness,” Development & Marketing Coordinator Nicole Pollock said. “We do have a transitional living program up there that offers an apartment for youth that cannot be returned to their families, and they would have support from their case manger; teach them life skills, teach them how to pay their bills and do all of the things they wouldn’t necessary learn at home.”

Safe Voices, a domestic violence resource center that offers a 24-hour helpline and an emergency shelter and safehouses for victims, requested $3,000, the same as the previous two years.

“Last year, unduplicated residents served in Wilton alone was 27 and the direct service hours for those Wilton residents was 124 hours. We also sheltered one Wilton resident last year as well,” Representative Becca Tinkham said.

Seniors Plus assists elders and individuals with disabilities who are homebound with services and has also been delivering meals throughout the pandemic. 

“Over the past year in 2020, Seniors Plus has assisted 238 residents specific to Wilton and there were 3,239 meals that were delivered to 50 residents in the Wilton area,” Representative Valerie Cole said.

The nonprofit is requesting the same amount as the previous year, $3,000.

Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Services (SAPARS) requested $3,000, the same as the previous two years, to further support survivors of sexual assault with services such as support groups, advocacy, and hospital, court and police department accompaniments.

Craig Zurhorst of Western Maine Transportation Services (WMTS) requested $3,406, a six-dollar increase from last year, to maintain the county’s only public transportation service.

“We have been successful in maintaining operations through the pandemic in Franklin County and Wilton specifically, with only a short break in services when we had no drivers available,” Zurhorst said.  

WMTS provided 357 rides to at least 29 Wilton residents last year, Zurhorst reported.

The Wilton Area Food Pantry requested the same amount as the previous two years, $3,000 to continue supporting operations out of the basement of the United Methodist Church located at 600 Main Street. The pantry is open Tuesday through Thursday from 10 a.m. – 12 p.m.

The Chamber of Commerce requested $1,500 to continue its promotional and fundraising efforts for Franklin County. Money generated from events go towards providing local scholarships and is also donated to organizations such as the Wilton Area Food Pantry. Executive Director Scott Lavertu reported the chamber donated $1,378 to the pantry last year.

Representative Lori Zamboni reported serving about 1,000 families, about 2,800 individuals last year.

Chairwoman of the Wilton Blueberry Festival, Shannon Chase Smith, requested the town set aside $3,000 just in case the festival can take place this year.

“It makes it hard not knowing, so I’m just putting it in in case we’re lucky enough to do that and I had a lot of support from the community,” Smith said. 

Both Maine Public Broadcasting Network and Tri-County Mental Health Services requested $100 and were not funded by the town last year. No representatives were present.

 

 

Comments are not available on this story.

Daily Headlines

  • Sign up and get the top stories to begin the day delivered to your inbox at 6 a.m.