Wiscasset selectmen

Wiscasset raises tax rate 1.8 percent, moves toward possible solar deal

Wed, 09/04/2019 - 7:30am

Wiscasset selectmen on Tuesday gave Town Manager John O’Connell authority to enter into a lease option contract with Cenergy to consider a solar farm near Wiscasset Municipal Airport. Cenergy had eyed a project for a larger facility and two smaller, 25-acre solar installations, but realized the electrical infrastructure would not support the larger facility. If O’Connell signs the lease option, and the facility is built after the lease option period, the town will receive $50,000 per year for 21 years for the two parcels. The town may also have lower electricity costs, according to Bill Pham, principal of Cenergy.

The town set its tax commitment at $19.90 per $1,000 of assessed valuation, an increase of 1.8 percent over last year’s rate.  Selectmen had planned to keep the increase below two percent. “I’m glad we were able to hold the line,” Selectman Ben Rines Jr. said.

Parks and Recreation Director Lisa Thompson outlined her plan for a more robust Scarecrow Festival, over eight days on the Town Common. Event ideas include scarecrows designed by local businesses on Oct. 12, a Haunted Storytime at the library Oct. 16, a Chili/Chowder Challenge sponsored by First Congregational Church on Oct. 17, and a festival on the grounds Oct. 19 including children’s events, scarecrow making, and music.

An application for an annual license for fireworks sales by Big Al’s was tabled because neither he nor his attorney could be present. The board approved a business application for Barbara Chace doing business as Maine-ly Hooping.

The fire department’s floor remediation project has a contractor: RJ Enterprises of Brunswick had the low bid of $8,000.

O’Connell announced the census is underway and people are in the field from dawn to dusk. He also said there are multiple committee openings and people can apply.

During public comment, Kim Dolce said she had asked to be put on the agenda about the committees not turning in agendas in advance or timely minutes.  Chair Judy Colby said it might take a couple of months to get the issue on the agenda.