The Wiscasset Board of Selectmen voted 5-0 to postpone holding a special town meeting and will put the questions before the voters on a referendum vote in the November election.
The decision by the selectmen to hold a special town meeting asking the voters to reconsider warrant articles rejected at the June Annual Town Meeting by referendum vote created an outpouring of concern from voters.
Selectman Pam Dunning made the motion to postpone holding a special town meeting.
Selectman Terry Heller speaking as a citizen, not as a member of the select board, put on another hat and spoke from the podium of the importance of voters being heard at an open town meeting to discuss the articles.
Dunning agreed with Heller on the benefits of an open town meeting, and pointed out the town approved referendum voting, and special town meetings should be used in the event of an emergency.
Selectman Sarah Whitfield also pointed out by having the articles voted by referendum the selectmen would be required to hold a public hearing on the articles before the November vote, and the voters would have an opportunity to speak on the articles.
It is unclear at this time if the question of a school resource officer will be on the November ballot. Police Chief Larry Hesseltine told the selectmen he does not want to upset the voters.
“I was disappointed when it failed in June,” Hesseltine said. He pointed out the questions failed by only four votes. He said he could wait another year and do a better job promoting the need for the school officer.
Other questions that were scheduled for the special town meeting and could be considered in November include: $55,000 for new police cruiser; an archway and metal entrance to the Ancient Cemetery not to exceed $50,000; negotiation of a long-term lease agreement with Maine Art Gallery; a Solar Energy Conservation Ordinance; and four other ordinance questions.
Appointments and resignation
The selectmen appointed Judy Colby and Stephen Wallace to the Budget Committee. According to Town Manager Dennis Simmons, there is still one open seat on the Budget Committee.
Selectman appointed Sharon Jacques as a parent, and Patricia Cloutier from the Chamber of Commerce to the School Study Committee. The town received four applications to fill three members-at-large seats. The applicants will be interviewed.
Selectmen accepted the resignation of Harbor Master Raymond Soule with regret.
FAA grant agreements
Selectmen authorized the town manager to enter into an agreement for the Wiscasset Municipal Airport reconstruction grant with the Federal Aviation Administration identified as number 3-23-0049-027-2021 with a Federal award date of July 23, 2021.
Selectmen also authorized the town manager to enter into an agreement for the obstruction removal grant for the Wiscasset Airport with the Federal Aviation Administration identified as number 3-23-0049-026-2021.
New business licenses
Selectmen approved a business license for Alexander Shaw and Erika Caron to operate C&S Trucking, at 41 Shady Land.
They also approved a business license for Tristan Koehling to operate Route 1 Diner, at 762 Bath Road.
Central Maine Power poles permits
Central Maine Power, Co., requested and received approval for power pole work on Bradford and Lowelltown roads. Work orders #801000395776 and #801000395812.
Mason Station Ash Pond contract
Selectmen accepted the recommendation of the town manager to award the cleanup of the former Mason Station Ash Pond contract to Envoavantage in the amount of $358,712.50.
The town of Wiscasset was awarded a $400 Brownfield cleanup grant in 2018 from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
In other business
Selectmen Dusty Jones, provided information from Maine Municipal Association on the issue of conflict of interest. The objective is to make decisions impartially in the public interest, and not for self interest, a public office requires public trust and the bottom line is public perception, according to the information he received from MMA.