Board witnesses swearing in of new officers
Two new Wiscasset police officers were sworn in on Nov. 6 with family looking on. Cory Hubert, the new School Resource Officer, and Jonathan Barnes, a new patrol officer, also had a pinning ceremony, in which Barnes’ wife and Hubert’s fiancee played a part.
The Waterfront Committee brought in a model of a potential boardwalk between the Main Street and Recreational piers, if it could be approved and funded. The idea faced questions from selectmen about whether or not the abutters have rights to the shoreline to the low water mark, which should be in the deeds, Town Manager Marian Anderson said. She said her office would check the deeds and determine if it would be possible to move forward. Other issues raised included liability. The committee believed the boardwalk would cost about $1 million. Another issue related to whether or not the Department of Marine Resources would approve the project, but the committee said the only animal being harvested in the area is the marine worm.
During the public comment period, Judy Flanagan said the town is once again helping local families with holiday gifts for their children. Tags will become available at the town office for specific children. Flanagan said givers could provide two “wishes” and two “wants” for each child.
James Kochan said due to problems with the loading zones, he is giving up his location on Main Street and choosing to do business out of his home. Anderson said she had forwarded the information to Maine Department of Transportation, but the response was the loading zones identified at the end of the town’s suit against MDOT are the ones the agency is prepared to provide. Anderson said she would seek more clarification.
Time was devoted to determining what to do about properties in such arrears in property tax that the town has foreclosed on the property. In many cases, the homeowner is still living in the home. The discussion involved getting in contact with the homeowner, giving them specific information about the cost of interest and principal, and setting a realistic repayment plan. If the owner does not make a good faith effort to pay the back taxes, the houses would be sold. Some owners have not paid taxes for many years.
The board decided to have the public works department use only white holiday lights on town trees except the town tree on the Common, which has traditionally been decked out with colored lights.
Sherri Dunbar discussed placing a gazebo on the Town Common. She said she has some funding already and plans for fundraising, and it would not cost the town anything. The current stage area was meant to be a temporary structure, and has now deteriorated. She said the gazebo would meet Historic Preservation requirements. Selectmen favored the project.