WILTON — The Select Board unanimously approved marijuana licensing fees for retail/medical marijuana stores and cultivators Tuesday, Oct. 19.

The approval followed allocated time for public comment on the fees but no one spoke.

The fees were formulated based on the average of those in Farmington, Jay and Wilton (from a former version of the town’s ordinance).

There are different fees for the four tiers of cultivation facility types, categorized by the scale of the facility. The new fees are as follows:

• Retail/medical marijuana store, $1,333

• Manufacturing, processing or testing, $1,333

• Cultivation, tier 1, $667 indoor or outdoor, 0-500 square feet.

• Cultivation, tier 2, $1,667 indoor or outdoor, 501-2,000 square feet.

• Cultivation, tier 3, $3,500 indoor or outdoor, 2,001-7,000 square feet.

• Cultivation, tier 4, $7,500 indoor or outdoor, 7,001-30,000 square feet, $1,000 extra for each additional 7,000 square feet as allowed by state.

The Select Board sets the fees, rather than voters, because of a change in the town’s marijuana ordinance at the June town meeting.

At the board’s Oct. 5 meeting, John Black, who owns a medical marijuana facility and retail store in Wilton, took issue with the idea of using a regional average.

He said the fees should be “based on actual numbers being proposed from the town” in regard to how much time the local departments spend overseeing the facilities. These local departments include town administration, the Police Department, the Fire Department and code enforcement.

In an interview following the meeting, Chairperson David Leavitt addressed these concerns and explained the fees are a starting point. They can be reevaluated in a year or two after the town has a better understanding of the time it dedicates to monitoring the facilities, he said.

The board also addressed another of Black’s concerns — that individual caregivers who sell and grow marijuana at their private residences are not required to register with the town under its current Adult Use and Medical Marijuana Ordinance. Under state law, individual caregivers are required to register with the state, but not with the local municipality.

“The state will say how many (registered caregivers) you have but will not tell you who they are,” Town Manager Rhonda Irish explained. “We can put (the requirement to register with the municipality) in (a new version of the ordinance) and hope they come forward but it’s not in our ordinance (or required by the state).”

Selectperson Keith Swett said he believes Wilton should be requiring individual caregivers to register with the town.

“Any business which is a store, whether it’s in your house or not, should be licensed with us. This business isn’t different from any other,” Swett said.

Irish told the board that Black informed her the state Office of Marijuana Policy’s Medical Marijuana Workgroup, of which he is a member, is looking into this issue.

“It will make it a lot easier once the state makes the changes to put it in town ordinance,” Irish said. “(The state laws) are very protective right now.”

In other business, the board approved the language of a job description for the town’s newly proposed events coordinator position.  The town will need to hold a special town meeting in order to fund the position.

Irish suggested the funding come from the town’s Tax Increment Financing district because the job “would also entail economic development by trying to get people into town.”

The position would involve planning the Blueberry Festival, “some Christmas activities,” “expanded Halloween events,” and possibly a summer barbecue among other events, Irish said. The town also wants the coordinator to do marketing, create new events, work with local businesses and perform other duties.

The coordinator would also collaborate with different committees, organizations and boards in town such as a new Blueberry Festival committee — which officials are considering establishing now that the festival will be run by the town.

The town is looking for candidates who have experience in special events planning, working independently, working with others and proficiency in Microsoft office. They also prefer candidates with a post-secondary diploma, however Irish clarified that is not a requirement.

There would be seasonal hours for the position, on an as-needed basis depending on the nearing events. Irish initially proposed that the coordinator be paid $18 an hour. Recreation Department director Frank Donald, who will supervise the coordinator, supported that salary.

“We can find someone qualified for $18 an hour,” Donald said.

He knows of a qualified candidate he’d be “comfortable” working with who would be fine with those wages, he added.

However, Maiuri and Swett both disagreed and said those wages are not high enough for the kinds of candidates they are looking for.

“I don’t think you can hire anyone with those qualifications for $18 an hour,” Swett said.

“There might be someone out there who is very qualified that would apply today if we get six or seven candidates and a superstar shows up who’s going to need $22 an hour,” Maiuri said. “I went and looked at similar event coordinators, (they make) typically between $20-25 an hour. I would think that’s the range that would attract someone of the qualities and caliber.”

Maiuri added that this position is “an investment” worth a higher salary.

“These kinds of events are what really drives people to come to town, energizes the community, brings in revenue,” she said.

Maiuri made a motion to approve the job description with a proposed salary range of $18-22 and it was passed unanimously.

Though they can’t hire anyone until the funding is approved at a special town meeting, Leavitt instructed Irish to submit the posting now “to get moving forward.”

Comments are not available on this story.