Wiscasset picks reval firm, eyes logging, broadband and Pleasant Street extension projects, remembers Eugene Stover, also honors ‘Coop’ Cooper

Sun, 06/09/2024 - 8:45am
Wiscasset selectmen June 4 went with RJD Appraisal’s $300,000 bid on a town-wide revaluation Town Manager Dennis Simmons said the Pittsfield firm will not be able to get to until at least 2027.
 
The timeframe drew gasps in the meeting room and an “Oh my god” from Selectman Terry Heller. Simmons explained, the town advertised for bids for six weeks and sought them from several qualified appraisers, and got only RJD’s. He attributed that to so many towns doing revaluations right now, there aren’t enough appraisers. Before the vote, he said the board could instead go back out to bid to try to get someone who could do it sooner, but he did not know how a second bid round would yield different results. 
 
The $300,000 is within budget, Simmons said. RJD is also assessor’s agent for the town. 
 
Also June 4, the board agreed 5-0 to have Gary Pomeroy Logging of Herman take steps toward a harvest at the town’s Old Ferry Road property. Simmons said the goal is to preserve the property’s value and maybe make some money off the harvest. According to the discussion, due to wetlands and other features, the harvest could include about 198 of the 297 acres and, of that 198, about 40% of the trees might be harvested, with which ones are cut being based on improving the forest’s health.
 
The firm will get back to the board with projected dollar values from the would-be harvest; an early estimate was 10s of thousands of dollars. Factors can include the trees’ species, logs’ quality and the distance to a public road, according to a document Pomeroy’s Colie Spencer and a forester the town has consulted, Forestry Concepts’ Kevin Allcroft, reviewed with the board.
 
The board nodded a letter supporting Consolidated Communications’ grant application to Maine Connectivity Authority to expand fiber internet service; and made plans with the Wiscasset Climate Action Committee to give the board a letter of intent to consider submitting for a possible engineering and site design grant for Pleasant Street Extension. After consulting state and federal agencies, Nature Conservancy of Maine and Knox-Lincoln County Soil & Water Conservation District, Leslie Roberts of WCAT and Pottle Cove Neighborhood Association said the idea has evolved to removing the gravel and hard-packed surface and putting in native wetland plants. 
 
Paying tribute to longtime public servant Eugene Stover, who died recently, Wiscasset Selectmen’s Chair Sarah Whitfield said she was lucky enough to serve on the town’s school board with Stover. “He was a wonderful man, and very level-headed and really cared about the town.” He taught in Wiscasset 47 years and, besides the school board, served on the selectboard and budget committee, Whitfield noted.
Whitfield read aloud the 2023 town report’s dedication to D. Kenniston “Coop” Cooper, who, it notes, served 42 years with the public works department. Cooper has been commodore of Wiscasset Yacht Club, served on Wiscasset Fire Department, was a master at operating the town’s Bobcat and grader, cleared snow downtown for many years, and retired in 2020, the report states. Due to the pandemic, the town could not give Cooper a proper sendoff then, Whitfield continued.
 
After reading the dedication, Whitfield gave Cooper a plaque and a copy of the town report. Reflecting on his years serving the town, Cooper said: “My boss was everybody in this town, and I appreciated working for them. Thank you.”