Wiscasset selectmen debut bulletin, including town’s prep for Lee

Thu, 09/14/2023 - 8:45am

Wiscasset Selectmen’s Chair Sarah Whitfield plans to regularly release bulletins that share town governments news and other information. They will also appear at wiscasset.org and on the Wiscasset Selectman Sarah Whitfield Facebook page. Here is the first, released Sept. 13:

Welcome to the first issue of the Selectboard Bulletin!

We hope that this twice-a-month bulletin will be a helpful source of information. Its purpose will be to explain processes (such as how an ordinance gets passed), give updates on new information (such as a report from a committee), provide clarification on frequently asked questions, and highlight important upcoming dates or deadlines. As another form of communication to the public, we hope this will help further open the process of town government and give you the information you need to know.

Economic Development News

We’re excited to share that on Sept. 7 we celebrated the official groundbreaking of the senior living facility at the former primary school. There will be more than 100 units and will include independent living, assisted living, and memory care options. They are hoping for an official opening in 2025.

In other exciting news, Genoa Healthcare Pharmacy, located next to Wiscasset Family Medicine on Water Street, will be officially opening on Oct. 6. We look forward to having a pharmacy right here in town!

Comprehensive Plan Update

The Comprehensive Plan Committee has regrouped and is moving full steam ahead to create our plan for the next 10 years. Committee members are working on updates to various parts on the plan and we expect to hold public workshops and feedback sessions through this fall and winter. We also will be releasing an updated survey that we hope as many residents as possible will fill out. Keep your eye out for more information!

Code Enforcement Officer

We do in fact have a new interim code enforcement officer, Bruce Engert. His hours are Mondays (7 a.m. to 5 p.m.) and Tuesday and Thursday (both 7 a.m. to noon) at the Town Office.

Short Term Rentals/Accessory Dwelling Units: Ordinance Process

In our last meeting, the Board discussed possible ordinances related to short-term rentals and accessory dwelling units. Most towns are looking at these two areas in reaction to legislation around affordable housing known as LD 2003. At this point, the Ordinance Review Committee will draft possible ordinances for both areas and report back to the Selectboard. We’ll give any additional feedback and then the Ordinance Review Committee will finalize their version and send it to the Planning Board for a public hearing. Members of the public will have the opportunity make any comments and then the ordinance(s) will head to the Selectboard who will make a decision on whether or not to put them on the next ballot (likely in spring 2024). Voters will then have a chance to vote on the ordinance.

Taxes Update

The Board set the mil rate on Sept. 13 and property owners should expect to receive their new tax bills in the next couple of weeks. As a reminder, for those not on a monthly plan, taxes are due on Oct. 26, 2023 and April 25, 2024.

Committee Members Needed

Want to get involved in town government? We need volunteers for the Ordinance Review Committee! The committee meets twice a month and assisted the Planning Board and Selectboard in creating and updating town ordinances. Members are also needed for the Budget Committee and the Climate Action Team. Inquire with the Town Office if you’re interested.

Town Manager’s Corner

Storm Updates and Preparation: As of this writing Hurricane Lee has made its northward turn and has its sights set on eastern Maine and Atlantic Canada. The exact track is still uncertain. While it is expected to weaken as it makes its way north it will still likely be a large and powerful storm. The storm center is expected to make landfall in the down east region, but the size of the storm is expected to bring tropical storm force winds ranging from 39 to 73 miles per hour and rain up to an 1” into our region. Downed trees and powerlines are likely. This morning I held an emergency meeting with departments to insure that we are prepared for this storm.

Emergency generators have been tested. If necessary the fire station and community center will be available as emergency shelters. Public works and fire department crews will be available to remove downed trees (when safe to do so). Wastewater has crews on standby. Fuel supplies have been secured in the event that we lose power for an extended period of time. Please note that our town crews will not cut trees from powerlines. Remember, no line is safe to touch ever. Should the storm be severe we will likely close the transfer station for the day on Saturday, but we will watch the situation as it develops over the next couple of days. Once the storm passes cleanup could take some time. We have several people out on medical leave leaving us shorthanded. If necessary we will request assistance from outside crews. Please prepare yourself for this potentially powerful storm. – Dennis Simmons, Town Manager

Upcoming Meetings

Sept. 18: Climate Action Team, 6 p.m.; Sept. 19: Selectboard, 6 p.m.; Sept. 20: Airport Committee, 5 p.m. at airport; Sept. 25: Ordinance Review Committee, 5:30 p.m. Sept. 25: Planning Board, 7 p.m.; Sept.  26: Waterfront Committee, 5 p.m.; Sept. 27: Budget Committee, 5:30 p.m. All meetings are held at the Wiscasset Town Office unless otherwise noted. All meetings, including committee meetings, are open to the public and we encourage you to attend!

Helpful Links & Resources

Town of Wiscasset website
Town of Wiscasset YouTube Channel (livestream of meetings and library of previous meetings)
Your Selectboard Members
Sarah M. Whitfield, Chairman: selectmanwhitfield@wiscasset.org Terry Heller: selectmanheller@wiscasset.org
William Maloney, Vice Chairman: selectmanmaloney@wiscasset.org James Andretta: selectmanandretta@wiscasset.org
Pamela Dunning: selectmandunning@wiscasset.org