Wilton Select Board gets updates on MAAC

WILTON – The contract with Milford Area Communications Center, upgrading the town’s assessing software and the ongoing contention between the board and the town treasurer filled a short meeting of the Select Board on Monday.

They also swore in new Police Officer Matt Holland, who has been the department’s prosecutor for the past three years and discussed the need for an updated and fully functional Office of Emergency Management.

John Quinlan, chairman of the Mont Vernon Select Board, updated the Wilton board on his discussions with the MAAC board of governors. Both towns have signed a contract extending the service for two years, but Milford has not and refuses to do so.

“We are disappointed,” Quinlan said. “Their non-attendance (at meetings) leaves us in a quandary.” Their town counsel has advised them their “options are still open,” he said. Our contract allows for one year’s notice of withdrawal.”

His board has filed a 91-A request for information from the Milford members of MAAC board.

“It’s too bad Milford continues to act this way.” He added, “Our long term relationship is based on trust and I don’t feel we have it.”

Chairwoman Kellie-Sue Boissonnault their two boards should get together and discuss the problem. “I don’t think Milford is being fair to its citizens.”

Quinlan agreed to that discussion and left the meeting to attend a meeting of his own board.

Josh Arend of Avitar Software of Chichester, presented a proposal for the upgrade of the assessing and tax collecting software. He has met with the office personnel to determine their wants and needs, he said, as well as Assessor Todd Haywood.

Any changes need to be in place before the next town-wide evaluation still several years away, and Arend said the conversion from the current system can be a lengthy process.

Selectman Matt Fish suggested a workshop with all department heads to discuss needs. Town Administrator Paul Branscombe will set one up.

Emergency Management Director David Boissonnault and Fire Chief Jim Culter described the operations center as “the bare minimum” located in the fire station.

“We need to coordinate communications between emergency services in case of a natural disaster,” Boissonnault said.

Maintaining Internet access is important. During the ice storm a few years ago, almost all communication was lost, including cell phones, Culter said.

Boissonnault said “a plan is in the works” and costs will be determined for a warrant article.

The on-going contention between the board and Treasurer Bill Chalmers (who was not present) escalated to an almost shouting match when Selectman Kermit Williams suggested the board devise a form Chalmers wants for the transfer of funds, a form separate from manifests.

Williams said he had talked with both Chalmers and a representative of the bank.

Boissonnault disagreed. “We already have the forms and we sign them.” By state statute he has to do as we ask, and added that Williams should not have met with Chalmers. Since they are friends, he should recuse himself.

Matt Fish agreed with the chairman. “For him to ask for another form to do his duty isn’t necessary.”

Williams said, “We need to work together. I’m trying to solve problems, and don’t want to fight with him again. It’s no big deal for us to sign another document.”

Fish said the failure to transfer the funds on time could “have caused the town to default,” not meet the payroll, and affect the town’s bond rating.

Williams said that didn’t happen.

Boissonnault said, “We don’t need a new policy,” and implied that if they did as Chalmers asked, “next week he’ll come up with something else.”

No changes were made in procedures.