Water commission may see changes in Wilton

WILTON – The Water Commission has long been considered a separate entity but that separation is being discussed again. Many believe that the water department’s charter, granted by the state in 1902, makes them totally separate from the town. Others disagree noting that the town owns the dams, the land surrounding them, and the equipment.

With a difference of opinion on the commission itself, as recording the commission minutes of April 27, the Commission has requested an opinion from the town’s attorney. For many years, the Commission had its own attorney.

The question arose at the meeting of the Board of Selectmen on Monday. The commissioners have said that Water Superintendent Michael Bergeron may take their new truck home to Greenville.

Public Works Director Steve Elliott asked if that was town policy.

Selectman Kermit Williams, who is also a water commissioner, said it was the commission policy. “Commissioners are empowered to decide how their property is used. It is not a town policy.”

Town Treasurer Jerry Greene observed that “it is a town truck. The commission doesn’t own anything.”

Williams responded, “Under the state statutes, they can decide how the vehicle is used.” But, he added, “I’m only one-third of the commission and can’t speak for them.”

Elliott was advised to attend the next meeting of the commission. He said he had already asked to be on the agenda for May 25.

Elliott also asked about another item in the April 27 meeting minutes which noted that the Mount Cavalry (Catholic) Cemetery water service was being redesigned so that there will be no water lines in the cemetery, just a central spigot with water cans available. As a cemetery trustee, he said, he knew nothing about that. “Who is doing the re-designing?”

“It won’t be the water commissioners,” Williams said, noting that the Catholic Diocese, which owns the cemetery, has had a problem with leakage. “We don’t do that work for customers.”

The commission closes the meters in the fall to prevent freezing and has just opened them.

Williams said it was something Bergeron ‘heard’ and passed on to the commission. “They were concerned about their bill.”

In other questions for Elliott as Director of Public Works, a user of the recycling center wondered why a box was no longer set aside for the collection of magazines and newspaper inserts. Many people, she said, looked through the collection for reading material and coupons.

Such material is now put in the “mixed paper” bin and inaccessible.

Elliott said he didn’t know anything about it, but if the selectmen wanted it, he would put it back.

Selectwoman Kelly Boissonnault said, “You’re the director. You can make that decision.”

Boissonnault also asked Elliott about sand collecting on the sidewalks and when he would remove it.

Elliott said he didn’t.

Williams said, “Historically (theater owner) Dennis Markaverich sweeps the sidewalk in front of the town hall.” Various store owners sweep their sections, and it has “always been volunteer.”

Elliott said he did not use sand on Main Street, just salt, so sweeping has not been done by the town in the past.

Boissonnault said, “We should beautify Main Street. How do you get people to do that? We are trying to encourage people to come here. I don’t like the sand on the sidewalk.”

Elliott said he would “look for somebody to do it, or we’ll clean the sidewalk. We do have a broom.”