Wilton residents will consider changes to a dog control ordinance and weigh in on future recycling changes at the annual Town Meeting in June.
Along with the proposed changes to local laws, the residents will consider a nearly $3 million budget, though there is a $16,000 difference between proposals from selectmen and the budget committee.
While residents won’t be asked to adopt new recycling policy at the meeting, voters take a straw poll on how they would like the town to eventually respond to anticipated increases in garbage disposal costs.
Selectman agreed at a board meeting Tuesday that because the Town Meeting is one of the largest gatherings of residents, it would be a good forum to get feedback on possible disposal changes to combat rising costs.
One option to be considered will be a proposal for residents to pay per bag of garbage they throw away. Recyclables would remain free to dispose under the proposal, and Selectwoman Tiffany Maiuri paying per bag of garbage would help enforce mandatory recycling.
“How do you enforce mandatory recycling without pay-per-bag? It becomes a moot point,” she said.
Residents will also consider whether they want to contract their transfer station out to someone other than the town.
Town Manager Rhonda Irish said there has been a sharp increase in the amount of construction materials taken to the transfer station and said residents should also consider whether they want to pay a fee for disposing building material.
Maiuri said the town should be careful not to impose a fee that would discourage people from cleaning up their property, as required by a new property maintenance ordinance.
Voters will also consider a revised ordinance that would fine owners of dogs “whose barking, howling or yelping sustained for one hour or more can be heard beyond the boundary of the property” where the dogs are located.
For first offenses, owners could be fined in court between $50 to $250, and for subsequent violations, owners could be fined between $100 and $500. Each day of the violation counts as a separate violation. Owners of nuisance dogs could be granted exemptions on a case by case basis.
Irish said the town struck language from the ordinance that talked about regulating prolonged “intermittent” barking.
“I know there had been a lot of concern because of the interpretation,” she said.
The town held a final public hearing on the ordinance Tuesday but no residents attended other than town officials.
The ordinances will be considered along with two different budget proposals: a $2.97 million budget, up 2 percent from the year before, proposed by the selectmen and a $2.99 million budget, up 2.5 percent from the year before, proposed by the budget committee.
The selectmen had a split vote on whether to recommend $3,000 for Safe Voices, a domestic violence victim advocacy group, and whether to recommend a $38,000 increase to the police department budget.
The budget committee recommended $29,650 for cemetery operations, while the selectmen recommended $15,000 for cemeteries. The budget committee also recommended $10,000 more for the fire department than the selectmen.
To decrease the amount of money needed from taxes, the board of selectmen plan to ask voters take out $252,683 from surplus. Budget committee voted to use $155,000 to decrease the tax burden.
The only contested seat up for election is a select board position held by Terry Brann. The seat is being contested by John Black, Scott Nichols Jr. and Gerald Whitney.
Kaitlin Schroeder — 861-9252 | email@example.com