Town Manager Anthony Wilson offered his resignation Tuesday during the Belgrade Board of Selectpersons meeting. Above, Wilson is sworn in by Clerk Cheryl Mitchell in 2019. Selectperson Melanie Jewell is seated. Kennebec Journal file

BELGRADE — Anthony Wilson, who has worked as the town manager in Belgrade for nearly three years, is stepping down.

At its Tuesday meeting, the Board of Selectpersons accepted Wilson’s resignation, which is effective May 31, with regret.

“If nobody seconds it, you can’t leave,” Chairwoman Melanie Jewell said, drawing laughter from the board.

Before the meeting, Wilson said he gave nearly six weeks’ notice, because he wanted to give the board time to determine what it will do to hire the next town manager.

“I have loved serving as town manager,” he said. “It’s been an honor to get to serve in a position like this, particularly in a community that my wife and I love.”

Wilson is slated to start a new job as director of communications and operations for the 7 Lakes Alliance, a nonprofit conservation group based in Belgrade that is focused on preserving and protecting the chain of seven lakes in the Belgrade area and the woodlands that surround them.

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“This is an opportunity to engage in some meaningful work in our community, and I think folks who understand Belgrade and Rome and Mount Vernon and Sidney understand there is no more important issue … to those communities than the health of the lakes,” he said.

In addition to their beauty, the lakes are a huge part of the towns’ tax base and represent a draw for recreation from residents and visitors alike.

“They are what give our communities their identity,” he said, noting that Oakland also borders one of the interconnected seven lakes. “The vitality of the communities around them depend on them having clear water.”

Among the threats to the lakes are invasive species, development on the lakefronts and introduction of phosphorus pollution that leads to algae blooms.

“Anthony and the town of Belgrade have been great partners for lake protection,” Laura Rose Day, chief executive officer of 7 Lakes Alliance, said. “By joining the 7 Lakes team, he’ll help 7 Lakes protect the lands and waters for communities regionwide while continuing to live and work in Belgrade. It’s a win-win.”

Wilson was appointed Belgrade town manager in July 2019 under a three-year contract.

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“The board appreciates his dedication and excellent service to the town of Belgrade during his nearly three-year tenure, and we wish him well in his future endeavors,” Jewell said following Tuesday’s meeting, confirming that his last day will be May 31.

“One of the things I have said to him and mentioned to the board is the fact that our getting information out to the public has gone up exponentially since he’s been here, and I think that’s due in part to the fact that he’s had communications as his specialty,” she said.

Wilson has done that consistently, posting information on both social media and the town’s website to engage and educate residents about town issues, Jewell said.

The Board of Selectpersons will start a search for Belgrade’s next town manager by contacting the Maine Municipal Association to advertise the position and seek out someone to serve as acting town manager in the interim.

During his time as town manager, he’s worked on several projects, some of which have not been completed. Among them are resolving salt contamination in some water wells in the community and plans to build a centrally located fire station.

“One of the things we have been able to achieve in the last three (years) is our mill rate has been completely flat, and that’s because of some good financial management and budgeting,” he said.

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Before coming to Maine, Wilson worked for 12 years for the city of San Angelo, Texas, where he served as the city’s communications director for his last seven years.

He started his career in Texas newspapers, where he worked for nearly two decades as a reporter and editor.

At Tuesday’s meeting, Wilson said he has volunteered his services to continue working with the Planning Board on the town’s proposed solar regulations.

“I’ll still be plugged in on that particular issue,” he said.

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