WILTON — Jeffrey Rowe will fill the vacant seat on the Wilton Selectboard following the results of Tuesday’s special election.

Rowe won the selectman’s seat with 177 votes, defeating Irving Faunce, who received 100 votes, and Gerald Whitney, who received 38.

The board vacancy occurred when Selectboard Chairman Paul Berkey Jr. resigned from his seat in October because he moved out of state. The Jan. 5 special election was held solely to fill this seat.

“I look forward to the challenges ahead, which are many, and I will put my best foot forward and do the best I can to do what is in the best interest of not just the people who voted for me, but of every (Wilton) person,” Rowe said Tuesday night in response to his win.

Rowe, 59, served four terms on the board from 1993 to 2005. After Rowe’s fourth term was up, he was ready for a change, so decided not to run again, he told the Morning Sentinel in an interview last week.

Rowe said he was persuaded to run for selectman when he was approached by Wilton residents who wanted him to run. With more time on his hands than he had when he decided not to run again in 2005, Rowe obliged.

However, Rowe is aware that in his time away from the board, new members have been elected and Wilton has been dealt some new challenges.

“Even though I’ve been on the board prior, it’s a whole different set of members (now) with different outlooks,” Rowe said Tuesday. “I’m going to have to sit down with the whole board and see where everything fits together to get the things done that need to be done.”

Specifically, Rowe believes the big challenge facing Wilton now is the need to demolish the former Forster Mill on Depot Street and to clean up the site. The town is applying for federal funding to conduct an environmental cleanup at the mill site, which the town acquired in March.

If federal funding is not acquired, the town might have to consider alternative ways to pay for the site remediation and demolition of the building.

“The big concern in town right now is the old Forster building,” Rowe said last week. “(The mill) needs to be torn down, and the town doesn’t have a lot of extra money to do so. The short version of that is it is still going to cost taxpayers.”

Rowe will join the board at its next meeting on Jan. 19.

Election results were announced first at Tuesday night’s Selectboard meeting. “We look forward to having a fifth member,” Selectboard Vice Chairman D. Scott Taylor said.

Lauren Abbate — 861-9252

[email protected]

Twitter: @Lauren_M_Abbate

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