By an overwhelming majority, Wiscasset voters sided with the Maine Department of Transportation on the three options presented to alleviate traffic congestion on Route 1. Option 2, which would eliminate on-street parking between the intersections of Middle Street and Water Street, garnered 426 votes in the non-binding referendum question on the annual town meeting warrant Tuesday, June 14.
Despite an aggressive campaign launched by downtown business owners, only 206 voters supported the option to do nothing; 90 voters supported option 1, which allowed for on-street parking between the intersections of Middle and Water streets with Route 1.
The final decision rests with the Wiscasset Board of Selectmen; however, the members of the board have said they would honor the results of the non-binding referendum question if the results were decisive.
The Wiscasset Ambulance Service will transform into a professional department with paid 24/7 station coverage following the annual town meeting. Despite a 67 percent increase in the ambulance service’s budget from the previous year, voters supported it 463-216.
“I’m glad to see the community supported the service and keeping it local,” Director Toby Martin said. “I’m glad there was a good turnout and they supported us. We’re moving in the right direction.”
According to Martin, the next step for the ambulance service will be to ensure there is the staffing to provide 24/7 station coverage. The providers the ambulance service currently has will move into a fixed schedule, he said.
The position of school resource officer will also remain in Wiscasset for another year. Voters supported the position in a 349-312 vote. While the position was maintained by a narrow margin, the position garnered more support than it did at the 2015 annual town meeting, where it was approved by two votes.
The Wiscasset Police Department received strong support at the polls. The police department’s budget was approved 447-222. Voters also supported the department’s capital reserve account request to replace a cruiser that was totaled in an April accident 431-293.
The use of surplus to cover over-expenditures in Wiscasset will no longer need voter approval at a special town meeting. The warrant article, which allowed for the use of surplus to cover over-expenditures, passed 366-275.
Of the 72 warrant articles at the annual town meeting, only three were rejected. Voters overwhelmingly rejected a proposal to raise $81,150 to enter into a power purchase agreement with a solar energy company for a solar installation to power town buildings, 400-181.
Voters also rejected a requested appropriation of $3,000 to record town meetings through Lincoln County Television 434-249, and an appropriation of $3,000 to record town meetings through Town Hall Streams 451-119. Selectmen placed both articles on the warrant in the hopes that voters would decide which they prefer; voters chose neither.
Wiscasset voters backed transfer station Superintendent Ron Lear’s recommendation to commit to sending trash to Fiberight LLC’s planned facility in Hampden in 2018, and supported revisions to the airport and waterfront committee ordinance that eliminate the ability of non-residents to serve as voting members.
Overall, Wiscasset voters approved a municipal budget of $5,403,822 for 2016-2017, which is an 11.15 percent increase from the 2015-2016 budget of $4,861,521.
Wiscasset voters also approved Wiscasset School Department’s $8.9 million budget for 2016-2017 in a 448-222 vote.