WILTON — Residents haggled over everything from the Fire Department budget to a park retaining wall to money to demolish the Foster Mill as they voted on a $3 million budget Monday night.

Selectmen had recommended a budget of $3,067,508, an increase of $48,324 or 1.6 percent over the previous budget. The Finance Committee proposed a budget of $3,035,012, an increase of $15,828 or 0.06 percent over the previous budget.

The final tally came somewhere in between. Final numbers weren’t available Monday night.

The higher budget number from selectmen included a recommendation to include $1,000 for a recreational trails account, $1,500 for a Kineowatha Park retaining wall account and $25,000 for a building demolition capital fund that would go toward razing the Foster mill building on Depot Street.

The money for a Foster mill demolition account was approved, but not without one of the most heated debates of the night.

The town foreclosed on the mill building in March after failing to come to agreement with owner Adam Mack, of Portland, who had allowed it to deteriorate over several years. The town filed a lawsuit against Mack in 2013 to try to force him to demolish the mill.


Selectman Tom Saviello referred to the crumbling four-story structure as “my biggest disappointment.” He said that although the $25,000 proposed in the budget was nowhere the amount needed to demolish the building and clear the site, the money would provide the town with the capital necessary to seek grants and matching money.

Selectman Paul Berkey said that one of the biggest questions he gets from residents is “what are we going to do about the Foster building.” He called the structure a “ticking time bomb” with potential to take out houses on both sides of the hill it’s on if it ever catches fire.

Berkey said, “That thing could hurt lives big time.”

Those opposed to the allocation said the amount was too small to do any good, so there was no sense increasing the budget for it.

Residents also clashed over the Fire Department’s proposed $113,146 budget. Selectmen recommended $111,161 and the finance committee recommended $112,161, the difference in the two lower requests was a $1,000 piece of equipment.

Voters approved the department’s full request by a hand count after it couldn’t be determined by voice vote.


Voters agreed unanimously to go with the selectmen’s proposal to give nothing to the American Red Cross. The Finance committee had recommended $500, and it was noted at the meeting that 11 people in town lost their homes and got services from the Red Cross over the past year.

Voters agreed to $1,500 to repair the deteriorating retaining wall at Kineowatha Park, but that also generated debate. Although the wall is in the location where children’s swim lessons are held, discussions revolved around deferred maintenance and what would happen should the swim area be closed because the wall isn’t safe.

Douglas McIntire — 861-9252

[email protected]

Twitter: @CD_McIntire

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