Nancy Walters of Wilton speaks on about carbon taxes Monday at the annual town meeting in Kineowatha Park in Wilton. Voters approved all 63 articles on the warrant. Kay Neufeld/Franklin Journal Buy this Photo

WILTON — Voters approved all 63 articles on the warrant, including the $3.79 million town budget at the 2021 annual town meeting Monday.

A total of 136 residents attended the meeting at Kineowatha Park. Moderator Ron Aseltine said it was likely the “largest crowd we’ve had in a few years.”

The amendments to the zoning ordinance regarding marinas and shoreland zoning guidelines were approved by voters after considerable discussion. The amendments impact the plans for a proposed marina on Wilson Lake at 10 Rowle St. The marina has elicited a lot of public interest and municipal action in the past few months.

Selectperson Tom Saviello announced that lawsuits had been brought against the town regarding the ordinance amendments and that, as a result, passing them could result in “expenses incurred by the town.” He did not specify the details of the lawsuits.

In the discussion before the vote, five residents spoke on Article 4, which adds a definition for a “marina” to the town’s zoning ordinance. However, their comments seemed to address the proposed marina more than the amendments.

Rob Lively, president of Friends of Wilson Lake, spoke on behalf of the association, saying it “strongly supports this article.”

Another resident said that allowing a marina on Wilson lake “would be unsafe for swimmers, boats and (be) a blemish on our community.”

Rick Dorian said he didn’t understand why the marina is “needed” and that people “want to take a shortcut at everyone else’s expense.”

The town also passed an article authorizing the Select Board to write to Wilton’s elected officials in the state and federal governments, calling on them to “enact carbon-pricing legislation to protect Maine from the costs and environmental risks of continued climate inaction, and to support Cash-Back Carbon Pricing.” The board will have to send the letter within 30 days.

Peter Campion, who introduced the resolution in March, said that “although that fee (of a carbon tax) will cause gas and oil heating to become more expensive over time, most people in Wilton will get back more from that fund than they will pay out in increased costs.”

Selectperson David Leavitt said the article and carbon prices creates “more government and I think we have enough now.”

Nancy Walters, who introduced the resolution alongside Campion, said taxes on carbon emissions is an inevitability and the government will hold on to the money made from a tax without a cash-back program.

Walters also said Mainers are “going to need help financially” when it comes time to implement environmentally conscious choices and the cash-back program incentivizes that.

Select Board Chairman Keith Swett raised concerns that a carbon tax could result in higher costs for anything that is transported using fuel and that an individual’s profits from the cash-back program wouldn’t be enough to cover those costs.

“The cost of not doing anything is hundreds of times” the cost of implementing a carbon tax, one resident said in response.

Voters also approved the Select Board’s recommended $3.79 million town budget, which will fund, among other things, the departments and services in town, the public library, eight nonprofits, and reconstruction of the Wilson Lake retaining wall and pedestrian walkway.


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