MARGARET GARDINER, 95, was awarded the Boston Post Cane by the Woolwich selectboard at the beginning of the town meeting on Saturday. The Boston Post Cane is a New England tradition continued by many municipalities that recognizes the town’s oldest living resident.

MARGARET GARDINER, 95, was awarded the Boston Post Cane by the Woolwich selectboard at the beginning of the town meeting on Saturday. The Boston Post Cane is a New England tradition continued by many municipalities that recognizes the town’s oldest living resident.

WOOLWICH

At their annual town meeting, about 100 Woolwich residents approved a budget of nearly $1.57 million — an increase of 4.3 percent.

During the two-hour meeting on Saturday, voters approved all 39 articles on the warrant, which included the purchase of a new fire truck, funding for the Patten Free Library and authority for the selectboard to execute a deal to have solar power equipment installed on town property.

Property taxes for the town are yet to be determined, because the RSU 1 budget and Sagadahoc County budget are still being developed.

A large portion of the meeting was dedicated to the vote on authorizing the selectboard to negotiate and execute an agreement with ReVision Energy to install solar equipment at a town-owned landfill. The solar array is expected to provide 97 percent of the electricity to properties owned and operated by the municipality.

Under the Power Purchase Agreement, Woolwich wouldn’t buy the array at first, but would simply purchase the electricity from ReVision Energy at rates similar to what it pays now. After six years, the town would have the option to purchase the solar equipment outright, or continue buying electricity at an increased rate. A ReVision Energy representative said that the low upfront costs to the town was designed with the intent that the town would ultimately purchase the equipment.

The town passed the article 53-29.

Funding for Patten Free Library, which the town has provided annually for some years, proved controversial at the meeting, with some residents questioning why the town should pay $53,268 toward the Bath-based library instead of buying membership cards for those residents who actually use the library. Numbers provided by the library showed that 1,164 Woolwich residents used their cards in the past two years, making the cost for the town to purchase cards for those residents $69,840 — $16,572 more than requested by the library. Funding was approved 57-23.

Voters also approved the issuing of a bond of up to $348,000 to purchase a new fire truck. The new truck would replace a 30-year-old vehicle that Fire Chief Mike Demers said was “no longer suitable” and didn’t align with national standards.

Bruce McElman was reelected as a fish commissioner for the town for another five years.

Prior to the start of the meeting, the Woolwich selectboard awarded Margaret Gardiner with the Boston Post Cane, a New England tradition that recognizes a municipality’s oldest living resident. The prior recipient, Victor S. Knight, was recognized in July of last year, but passed away in January at the age of 95. Gardiner turned 95 in February.

Lloyd Coombs, a long-serving member of the selectboard who finished his final term last year, was honored by the current selectboard with the 2017 Spirit of America Award for his dedication to the community.


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