Fishermen’s off-season use of floats gets nod

Posted:  Wednesday, July 19, 2017 - 8:00am

Commercial fishermen will be able to pay a fee and use the recreation floats at the Wiscasset waterfront a few extra months this fall. On Tuesday night, the select board approved a recommendation made by the waterfront committee.

Off-season dockage and use of the mast and boom from Oct. 1 until Dec. 1 will cost resident fishermen $100 and  non-resident fishermen $200. Both pay a dock usage fee of $200 during the boating season from May 31 until Oct. 1. No restrictions were set on the amount of time a commercial boat may be tied to the floats during the off-season. Six commercial fishermen, including four from Wiscasset, had expressed an interest to the waterfront committee in using the floats in the off-season.

“Nobody is using the recreation floats this time of year so it makes sense for the commercial fishermen to use them,” Waterfront Committee member Richard Forrest told selectmen. During times of high winds, the boats would be moved off the dock to their harbor moorings, he said.

The committee recommended a $100 fee for using the floats but Selectman Bob Blagden motioned the amount be doubled for non-resident commercial fishermen. The vote was 3-2, with Katharine Martin-Savage and Chairman Judy Colby dissenting.

Fire Chief T.J. Merry expressed concerns about a recent newspaper article regarding combining the fire and EMS departments. “We were all kind of blindsided to read about it in the newspaper,” Merry said, adding his telephone had been ringing off the hook.

Colby said the board hadn’t discussed combining the two departments. “We had talked about cross-training between the departments,” she said.

“I felt blindsided too, when I read some of the comments in the newspaper,” Selectman Ben Rines said. ”But we haven’t discussed combining the departments.”

Town Manager Marian Anderson offered to meet with Merry and EMS Director Toby Martin and report back to selectmen. Martin was not at Tuesday night’s meeting.

Selectmen re-appointed John Reinhardt and Albert Kontrath to the Wiscasset Historic Preservation Commission. Kim Andersson was appointed to the budget committee.

Following a public hearing, selectmen approved a special amusement permit for the Friends of the Library’s fifth annual Band for Books, a fundraiser planned for Sept. 3. This year’s event will be held at Martin-Savage’s home at 191 Indian Road. Martin-Savage abstained in the 4-0-1 vote approving the permit. The board granted permission for the library to place signs advertising the event on the Town Common.

Anderson reported C&C Reality Management, LLC of Augusta is requesting selectmen grant the Deer Ridge Farm housing complex property tax exemption status as of April 1 of this year. This would result in a loss of approximately $49,000 in taxes. Selectmen will seek an opinion from the town attorney.

Linda Pope. president of the Maine Art Gallery, said the historic building on Warren Street is open most Saturdays and Sundays from noon to 4 p.m. and also during the monthly Art Walks.

Department head reports

Airport Manager Frank Costa stated in his monthly report, the airport finished the fiscal year with a balance forward of  $49,855, a departmental savings of slightly over 17.6 percent. The airport’s expenses totaled $233,319 last year.

“The excellent service provided by a small group of dedicated part-time staffers at our airport is the rock solid base for all that gets done,” wrote Costa. He added June fuel sales totaled 5,352 gallons for revenues totaling $23,476.

Costa noted the airport runway’s “inability to accommodate medium size Jet or Turbo-prop aircraft will continue to be an issue resulting in the loss of revenue.” He added the runway length “affects our airport revenue as well as the availability of the fixed-wing Life-Flight aircraft for life-saving activity, the fixed-wing aircraft is unable to use our airport for services due to their minimum runway length requirement of 3,500 feet for takeoff.”

Police Chief Jeffrey Lange reported Natalie Bonneau, an intern from Husson College, is working for the department this summer. Bonneau’s duties include assisting the chief in the department’s state accreditation process based on guidelines of the Maine Chiefs of Police and the Maine Criminal Justice Academy.

Lange noted the department received $1,668 from the Byrne Jag Grant. The monies will be used to purchase scopes for four rifles the department will receive in exchange for training the department will give Maine Yankee security personnel. Including the Byrne Jag Grant, Lange said his department has received $19,796 in grants so far in 2017.

Police responded to 540 calls last month; 200 involved property checks. There were 69 motor vehicle stops, six domestic disturbance complaints, five civil complaints, three burglaries and 10 juvenile complaints.

Lange noted resignation effective June 30, of reserve officer Mike Smith and part-time administrative secretary Dianne Hammond. Selectmen accepted both resignations with regret.

Martin reported the ambulance service responded to 72 calls last month, 49 of those in Wiscasset, seven in Edgecomb and six in Woolwich.

The fire department responded to five calls last month including a structure that destroyed a home on Bradford Road according to Merry. Firefighters recently completed motor vehicle extrication training with Dresden.

Treasurer Shari Fredette reported in June the town office collected $66,640 in property taxes and $2,323 in personal property taxes. She stated the finance department was 2.1 percent under budget at the close of the fiscal year.

Town Clerk Linda Perry reported all 14 of the town’s commercial shellfish licenses had been sold (12 resident and two non-resident). There are still some resident recreational shellfish licenses available to purchase, she said.

Code Enforcement Officer Stan Waltz noted he’d issued 14 building permits in June. Waltz reported he was fielding more telephone inquiries in the absence of a town planner.

Bill Rines superintendent of the treatment plant, reported $40,547 was paid in sewer user fees last month. Rines said the sewer department had received 104 percent of its anticipated revenues for the year.