Wilmot passes $1.4 million budget, holds onto garage site

  • Approximately 70 voters showed up to discuss the budget, land sales and highway vehicle purchases at the Wilmot town meeting Thursday. Caitlin Andrews—Monitor staff

Monitor staff
Published: 3/23/2017 11:59:05 PM

The town of Wilmot will hold on to the old town garage for another year.

An article that would have given the select board the authority to sell the land located at 7 Pedrick Road in Wilmot was unanimously defeated at town meeting Thursday night. The article was not recommended by the select board.

Select board member Mary Kay Huntoon said the board wanted to wait on the decision to sell the land because several parties expressed interest in using it. At least two potential buyers had surfaced, she said, and the land was also discussed as a possible site for town use.

One possible use would be a portable office for Wilmot police Chief David Zuger, who currently works out of an office at the Wilmot Volunteer Fire Department, a private fire company. Additionally, the fire department had expressed interest in using the land to store extra equipment.

“It just didn’t seem like the right time to put it on the market,” she said.

At least one resident, Jim Orrok, was in favor of the article because he is interested in buying the property and absorbing it into his own abutting property. He called the land an “eyesore” and said he would clean the building up to use as a shed or a llama barn. He also wanted to ensure he wouldn’t have to worry about anyone else buying the land, such as an excavation company he said had expressed interested.

“I can make that property disappear permanently,” he said. “I don’t see what use it would be to anyone else.”

But other residents expressed concerns about what could go on the land were it to be up for sale and how much the town would stand to profit from the sales. Select board member Nick Brodich pointed out prior to the vote that voting against the article didn’t mean the town would never have a chance to sell the building again; it would simply mean the town was not ready to let the building go.

Residents were in favor, however, of selling a piece of land on Campground Road, which Brodich described as a triangular piece of land less than an acre in area. He said the town already has a buyer interested in the land, which has been appraised at $22,500.

Other articles passed included a $1.4 million budget, up 3.74 percent from last year’s $1.38 million budget. The article sparked discussion of how the town could lower its taxes in the future and how to attract more young people.

“We have to explore more commercialism in Wilmot,” resident Laurie Sliter said, “and a lot of you are fighting it.”

Sliter went on to say that there were two prior instances when the town had the opportunity to bring more business to the town, but voted it down both times. She said if more young people don’t settle in the town, there won’t be anyone to tackle taxes in the future.

An article to raise $141,227 to purchase a new highway vehicle, the second-most expensive item on the warrant, passed with little discussion. The majority of the funding for the vehicle will come from taxation, while $40,000 will come from an Equipment Capital Reserve Fund.

Voters also approved $100,000 to begin a two-part project to paved North Wilmot Road and two $30,000 warrant articles to put money into the Equipment Capital Reserve Fund and the Paving Expendable Trust Fund.

Approximately 70 voters attended the meeting, which was postponed along with ballot voting after last week’s storm.

(Caitlin Andrews can be reached at 369-3309, candrews@cmonitor.com or on Twitter at @ActualCAndrews.)

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