Wilton selectmen address dog issue

WILTON – The Board of Selectmen spent considerable time on Monday, June 22, dealing with the problems of dogs: how to get people to register them and clean up after them. Both actions are required by law.

They also dealt with more mundane things, like establishing a wage and salary schedule, and whether temporary signs are allowed on the traffic island by “The Dummy.”

Town Clerk Jane Farrell said there were 155 town dogs still unregistered on the previous Friday.

All owners of record had been notified, she said, and wanted to move on to the next step: contacting owners by certified mail in order to have documentation.

A further step is to involve the police department and impose a $25 fine. The selectmen agreed that it “was not fair to those who do register their dogs to not go after those who don’t.”

Selectmen agreed to the second notification but did not want to go further right now.

Jeff Stone, speaking for the Conservation Commission, said he was concerned about the amount of dog waste on the streets around the elementary school and noted that it was worse when there was snow on the ground. He said he surveyed the area during one two-day period and documented 82 “incidents.”

He noted there is a state statute concerning dog waste and wondered if the town had a separate ordinance. “The Conservation Commission recommends that the town enforce the existing laws and try to educate the dog owners. Maybe send a periodic letter to all owners reminding them.”

Police Chief Brent Hautanen said enforcement is “hard for us to do. You almost have to catch them in the act.” He agreed that it was an issue downtown, not so much farther out.

Dawn Tuomala noted that pet waste is an issue in the storm water runoff management plan she is working on. “All of the storm water will be tested.”

Selectmen agreed to ask Public Works Manager Steve Elliott to look into more signs around the school and also to check into plastic bag dispensers.

Board Chairman Rick Swanson said, “Maybe we can increase compliance with education.”

In other business, Harry Dailey reported on the progress being made by the Wage and Salary Commission. The group is preparing a job description and an evaluation process for all town employees.

He presented a draft proposal and said the committee would meet with the Budget Committee on July 16.

The proposed salary chart does not include people who receive a stipend and they hope to include those as well, Dailey said.

He said he would like the selectmen to “take all this and absorb it,” and he would come back for more discussion in the next 30 to 60 days. “We would like a final draft by October.”

And yes, the selectmen said, there can be temporary signs on the traffic island by The Dummy, as there have for as long as anyone could remember.

The town regulations allow for 30 days, Selectman Bill Condra said, proposing they stick with that.

Political signs are covered by the state, Kermit Williams said, “and basically unregulated as free speech.”

Swanson said he was personally opposed to the signs as “eyesores,” but he was outvoted.