Big ticket items on Wilton Town Meeting agenda

WILTON – Voters at Wilton Town Meeting should be prepared for a long evening – there are several big ticket money articles that should prompt a lot of discussion.

The traditional meeting will begin at 7 p.m. Thursday, March 13, in the Florence Rideout Elementary School gym.

Voting for officers plus changes to five zoning ordinances, will take place on Tuesday, March 11, at Town Hall. Polls will be open 8 a.m.-7 p.m.

The operating budget totals $4,644,590, up about 9 percent from last year because of the fire station bond, state-mandated increases in retirement funds and a new state-
required storm water control system.

Article 13 is the most disputed item – $80,000 for the town to acquire a partial interest in conservation easements on the Frye Farm on Abbott Hill.

The full project costs are $1,635,000.

The project is supported by the Federal Farm and Ranchland Protection program and USDA grants.

The town would acquire passive recreation rights, wellhead protection and protection of open space, including 800 feet of Souhegan River shore line. The expenditure is not recommended by either the Budget Committee or the Board of Selectmen.

The Budget Committee does not recommend $4,500 to take a 100-foot section of town conservation land and add it to each of four abutting lots. Selectmen approve of the plan to clear up a long-standing problem. The lot to be divided abuts the Frog Pond property.

A petition article asks that the director of Public Works become an appointed position, rather than an appointed one. The Selectmen do not recommend the change.

Other expenditures include $37,000 for a pickup truck with plow, $175,760 for a dump truck/plow (with $75,000 to come from a capital reserve fund), $425,000 for a new Fire Department Rescue Truck (with all but $41,200 to come from a reserve fund), and $13,250 to repair or replace balustrades at the town library, money to be withdrawn from a capital reserve fund.

Replacing the Frye Measure Mill Bridge will cost $80,000, money to come from the bridges account.

A new ambulance with power cot and on-board vehicle radio will cost $207,587, with $118,640 to come from a reserve account. Lyndeborough and Temple are expected to pay proportionate shares of the costs.

Selectmen wish to discontinue three capital reserve funds: Ambulance Radio Fund, ($4.61 remaining in fund) Isaac Frye Paving Fund, ($103.02) and Recycling Center Landfill Closure Fund ($52,210.05), with all balances to be placed in the general fund.

Emergency repairs to a Town Hall bathroom and storage area will cost $20,000, money to come from a capital reserve fund.

Voters are also asked to modify the Elderly Exemptions from property tax, based on assessed values. Selectmen recommend the changes.