Wiscasset voters to weigh in on MDOT lawsuit
On Feb. 20, Wiscasset selectmen agreed unanimously to hold a referendum on the lawsuit against the Maine Department of Transportation. Chair Judy Colby moved that the planned town meeting to consider accepting funds from the Doering family to advance the lawsuit, be tabled. Voters instead will be asked, in a lone ballot item, if they want the lawsuit to go forward.
“If the town decides they don’t want to continue with the lawsuit, then we won’t have to worry about the funds. We can pay what we owe and be done with it,” Colby said.
Selectman Bob Blagden favored the change, and said the wording would have to be very clear. Selectman Ben Rines Jr. asked about paying the fees that had already accumulated, and was told everything currently owed to attorneys Peter Murray and John Shumadine had already been paid.
The vote will be scheduled after the question’s wording is worked out, but is expected to take place before the case’s next hearing in April.
More than 50 people turned out Tuesday night. Many clapped and cheered at Colby’s motion.
A discussion of the costs to charge Westport Island and Edgecomb for ambulance service was tabled until the first budget meeting, at 6 p.m. Feb. 27, when the police, fire and EMS budgets and the waterfront budget will also be discussed. Other budget meetings are March 1, 5, 8, 13 and 15, all at 6 p.m. The meetings are open to the public and can be streamed at www.wiscasset.org
The board approved a new form for vendor permit applicants, a policy revision for the Main Street Pier, and a new sewer abatement policy requiring anyone who wants an abatement for outdoor watering to have a second meter. The policy also requires other sewer abatements, such as for water leaks, be requested within 30 days.
The board agreed to sign the contract with Pyro City for fireworks for $8,000, the same as last year.
Nick Dalton, who placed a work of art, “The Hesper,” at the recreational pier last summer, sent a letter via an attorney asking for the value of the materials the town removed. The board agreed to have the town manager respond in writing that because Dalton did not remove the installation on time, and was told about it in person by a selectman, the town would not give him the $1,280 he is requesting. Dalton received the drinking fountain and faucet portion of the installation, but the PVC pipe was thrown out.
Town Manager Marian Anderson announced that in Wawenock, LLC v. MDOT, in which Wiscasset was named a party-at-interest, the town’s lawyers have sent a letter to the lawyer for the plaintiffs that the town took no position in the case and did not plan to file a brief. Doering family spokesman Mark Robinson said their lawyer’s position is, the rules required that the town be listed as a party-at-interest to preserve Wiscasset’s interest in the matter.
Regarding the town’s case against MDOT, Anderson said the town had received a series of questions requested by MDOT.
Anderson introduced the town’s new treasurer, Vernice Boyce, who starts March 5. Prior to coming to work for the town, Boyce was an auditor. Police Chief Jeff Lange introduced new officer Alan Tarrance, who served in the Army for nine years.