Wiscasset Selectmen

No ‘waiting in the dark’

Wiscasset lays groundwork to strategize on spent nuclear fuel
Posted:  Tuesday, April 7, 2015 - 9:45pm

Wiscasset selectmen want to learn how other towns are taxing sites of stored nuclear waste, and what those towns and other layers of government are doing toward getting the waste out of town.

“This is exactly the direction (and) the type of information we're going to need going forward,” Selectmen’s Chairman Pam Dunning said at the April 7 selectmen's meeting.

Tuesday night’s announcement of the research project came after selectmen’s second, closed-door session with lawyers regarding the spent fuel, now projected to still be in Wiscasset after the town's existing tax deal with Maine Yankee runs out in 2023.

The work is projected to take eight months and cost $35,000.

“(That) should get you a study that has enough meat in it that it should be worth your while,” attorney Peter Murray told the board.

The town will ask Maine’s Congressional delegation for help finding possible funding sources for the project, Dunning and Town Manager Marian Anderson said.

The work would involve a pair of studies, one on ways to generate taxes in connection with Maine Yankee’s spent fuel storage; the other, on possible local, state or federal measures to get the waste on the move, Murray said. Time would also be spent looking into whether Wiscasset might be able to get money out of the federal government for hosting the fuel’s storage, according to a memo Murray and attorney Sarah McDaniel presented.

“You could wait and see how the tea leaves come down, but I compliment you on being proactive,” Murray told selectmen. “Wiscasset could be one of the most informed towns, rather than waiting in the dark for things to happen.”

Written reports with strategic recommendations will follow the studies, the memo states.

Murray and nuclear power consultant Peter Bradford would each get $300 an hour; McDaniel, $225 an hour; and associate attorneys, paralegals and summer interns, lesser amounts, according to the memo.

Ordinances head for town votes

Proposed new historical preservation and flood plains ordinances sailed through public hearings Tuesday night. Selectmen agreed to send each proposal on to a town vote later this spring. The preservation one calls for selectmen to appoint a five-member commission with several duties, including reviewing proposed construction and other work in the historic district and reviewing nominations for the National Register of Historic Places.

The flood plains ordinance would replace the town’s current one, in order to adopt new insurance rate maps. If the new ordinance is in place by July, property owners will keep their eligibility to buy insurance through a federal program, officials said.