Wiscasset selectmen learned Tuesday night about proposed bipartisan legislation that would help communities like Wiscasset that have defunct nuclear plants and stranded nuclear waste.
The Sensible, Timely Relief for America’s Nuclear Districts’ Economic Development (STRANDED) Act, introduced by Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-Illinois), would address the effects of stranded nuclear waste on towns with closed nuclear plants. Maine Yankee shut down in 1997, with the understanding the waste would be removed by January 1998, but 60 canisters of nuclear waste, both high-level and low-level, are still in Wiscasset.
The act would establish a grant program to support economic development and create jobs, at a rate of $15 per kilogram of spent nuclear waste.
Collins stressed in a letter that this funding was in addition to the federal responsibility to remove the nuclear waste.
Sen. Angus King (I-Maine) signed on to the legislation as a co-sponsor. He is a member of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources.
Selectmen agreed to change the mooring application to require boats to carry insurance with a towing and salvage endorsement. The change was in response to the 2018 sinking of the Minesweeper, whose owner was found responsible for a littering charge, which could carry a penalty of three times the cost to raise and remove the vessel and any court charges. Sentencing is set for July 23, but owner Christopher Morrison has stated he does not have the funds to remove the ship.
Selectmen decided to have Ordinance Review Committee Chair Karl Olson come before them to make his case for amendments to town ordinances that would regulate Air B&Bs and other non-standard accommodations, primarily by changing parking regulations downtown. Selectman Kim Andersson was concerned Air B&Bs’ benefits to local businesses would not be adequately considered.
Historic Preservation Commission Chair Susan Blagden asked for funds for postage to mail postcards to people in the Historic District, informing them about the commission and its functions. She estimated the cost would be about $200; however, she said she believed she could get funds by asking citizens to chip in. The board agreed to pay for the postage if she could not get the funding.
Selectmen will visit the Maine Art Gallery, which has some structural issues, on July 23 at 5:30 p.m. prior to the next selectmen’s meeting. The town-owned building is leased for $1 a year by the gallery’s operators. Town Manager John O’Connell said the funds available would not pay for the repairs needed, and he did not see any funding anywhere in the budget to pay for them. Ted Snowdon of Public Works said the town could do certain jobs, such as repairs to the windows, and that he would be looking at jobs needed to secure the building for the winter. Mary Ellen Barnes of Lincoln County Regional Planning Commission said that several years ago, the building got a new roof thanks to state historic preservation grants and it was possible grant funding could pay for some of the repairs. The building is on the National Register.
Molly Bonang has achieved her Certified Tax Collector Certification. After a public hearing, selectmen approved a liquor license for Seabasket, LLC. A business license was granted for Dollar General.
Andersson announced she will hold a Comprehensive Review meeting at 6 p.m. Wednesday, July 10, in Wiscasset Middle High School library to discuss the plans for the comprehensive plan.
Selectman Jeff Slack was appointed to the Finance Committee, Debra Pooler to the Ordinance Review Committee, and Stephanie Davis to the Budget Committee.