Wiscasset selectmen on Tuesday accepted with regret the resignation of Wendy Williams, who had served as interim Emergency Management Services director during a period that involved the departure of EMS chief Toby Martin, a process to consider replacing Wiscasset EMS with Central Lincoln County Ambulance Service, and a referendum vote apparently moot after CLC lost its director and withdrew from consideration. The town favored keeping Wiscasset EMS.
Jon Powers replaced Williams.
Also Tuesday, Fire Chief TJ Merry discussed several issues. The department's garage door opener is not working properly, and replacing it would cost $6,148. The board asked him to try to keep the opener working until he could include it in the next budget. The generator in the rescue truck is a more immediate concern, according to Merry, who called it the “brains” of the truck. A new one would cost about $4,500. The board gave him permission to buy it without seeking bids, since it is an emergency.
The town’s legal counsel, Phil Soucier, discussed the best method to establish payment plans for past due property taxes, some of which have led to foreclosure. Soucier said the proposed agreement from Maine Municipal Association was the best one possible, unless the town could arrange a four-payment plan for delinquent taxpayers. He warned there were repercussions for not dealing with the issue within a short time, including possible liability issues. Selectmen's Chair Judy Colby said that after the holidays, the board should hold a workshop to decide how to work with taxpayers.
Several personal property back tax requests were abated for numerous reasons: the owner of the company died, the business closed or moved, or the tax was beyond the six-year statute of limitations. Others were too small to spend the court fees on. It was decided to spend more time attempting to use small claims court.
John Carroll of Central Maine Power presented a project update on the “New England Clean Energy Connect” project connecting Hydro-Quebec hydropower to Massachusetts through Maine. Selectmen and attendees raised several questions.
Town Manager Marian Anderson said the town would continue to look into deed restrictions on land to the high water line between the two town piers, with the possibility of building a boardwalk between the Main Street Pier and the Recreational Pier.
A brief discussion of the Maine Department of Transportation downtown project took place, especially the work being done that would remove parking from Main Street, and concerns about the temporary structures designed to cause water to flow into new catch basins. The northern side of the road is closed to parking, while the southern side is still temporarily open.
A discussion of when and under what conditions to meet with the school board also took place. The school board suggested the town come to two budget meetings, but selectmen hoped to meet to discuss more than the budget. Anderson will reach out to the superintendent again.
The comprehensive plan meeting expected for Dec. 4 has been postponed to Dec. 18, because Mary Ellen Barnes was unable to make the meeting.