WILTON — Officials have scheduled a special town meeting for Sept. 20 for voters to consider amending two of the town’s tax increment financing districts, along with an informational meeting about a proposed Central Maine Power Co. substation.

Selectmen also agreed to consider attending a future multi-town meeting on fire coverage issues in Franklin County. Farmington Selectman Joshua Bell approached the Wilton select board at its meeting Tuesday night, inviting members to a meeting he is trying to organize among southern Franklin County towns on how the area can address declining and aging volunteer fire department rosters.

However, Wilton Fire Chief Sonny Dunham said the dispatch of mutual aid from surrounding towns when the Wilton department receives a fire call would help solve any personnel shortage they might have.

Dunham told the board if he was having problems or concerns with roster enrollment, he would make town officials aware of them. The entirely volunteer Wilton Fire Department has 20 to 24 members on its roster, Dunham said, and the department receives about 235 calls per year.

Over the last 10 years, volunteer departments statewide have been facing shrinking rosters and aging firefighters, the Morning Sentinel reported in 2015. Last spring at Town Meeting, Farmington residents approved hiring four full-time firefighters in response to warnings from Fire Chief Terry Bell that the department was having problems with staffing.

Wilton selectmen were wary of Bell’s invitation to participate in the meeting because only select board members would serve as representatives and fire chiefs would not be at the meeting. Bell said the point of not having fire chiefs at the initial meeting is to keep the meeting small and focused, though he encouraged selectmen to talk with their fire chiefs before attending the meeting.

At the Sept. 20 special town meeting, residents will be asked to consider adopting amendments to Wilton’s two tax increment financing districts, the Comfort Inn and Suites TIF and the Downtown Omnibus Development TIF.

Once established, a TIF district allows for the town to shelter any additional property taxes that stem from added value to the area within the district and earmark that revenue for economic development.

The proposed amendments would spell out within the agreements that the board has the authority to release funds from the TIF accounts for use on town projects. Town Manager Rhonda Irish said this is how the town already has been administering TIF funding; however, she said she was unaware that by law, the method for spending the money must be specified within the TIF agreement.

The Comfort Inn and Suites TIF district encompasses the hotel itself and select other areas along U.S. Route 2. The district was established in 2007, and the account now has $260,000, which the town can use for various improvement projects outlined in the TIF agreement. The Downtown Omnibus Development TIF was established in 2013 and encompasses the area along Main Street in Wilton. The TIF has not generated any revenue for the town because no new property value has been added.

Following the special town meeting portion of the Sept. 20 meeting, Central Maine Power Co. representatives are scheduled to give an informational presentation on a new substation the company intends to build on Main Street in East Wilton.

CMP bought the property at 1338 Main St. in April and met with town officials about their plans in May. The new substation would replace an outdated substation on Temple Road, and would serve about 500 CMP customers.

Lauren Abbate — 861-9252

[email protected]

Twitter: @Lauren_M_Abbate

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