Wiscasset residents next month will be asked to approve the purchase of a new police cruiser, a new archway and entrance to the Ancient Cemetery on Federal Street, and to allow the town to adopt a solar ordinance, among other requests.

Residents will vote in the annual town meeting referendum vote on Tuesday, November 2. Voting will take place at the Wiscasset Community Center from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Voters initially denied a request for a new police cruiser during the town’s annual town meeting in June, but Wiscasset Police Chief Lawrence Hesseltine said he hopes residents will allow the town to purchase a new cruiser a few months later.

“Our officers spend a lot of time in these vehicles responding to emergency situations,” said Hesseltine. “We owe it to them and the community we serve to provide safe, dependable vehicles. Both the 2015 and 2016 are old and tired, simply worn out. They both have zip ties holding things together and rust is starting to take its toll as well.”

Hesseltine said he believes voters turned down the request in June because they believed the department wanted to add a fourth cruiser rather than replace one.

If approved, the new cruiser would replace one of the department’s three cruisers, the oldest of which is a 2015 Ford Explorer with over 100,000 miles.

“The mileage is just a piece of it, you have to also consider the idle time these vehicles have as well,” said Hesseltine. “Cruisers are typically running for the entire shift because of computers and electrical equipment. In the winter, they run to keep the equipment warm and the vehicle ready and the summertime to keep the electronics cool.”

According to Hesseltine, new cruisers range from $32,000 to $40,000, then cost another $12,000 to $15,000 to have necessary equipment installed. According to the election warrant, the town wouldn’t be able to spend more than $55,000 on the new vehicle.

In addition to approving a new police cruiser, residents will voter whether to allow the town to purchase a new metal archway and stone entrance for the Ancient Cemetery on Federal Street, the cost of which couldn’t exceed $50,000.

The new entrance would replace a rotten picket fence that was taken down over the summer.

Residents will also be asked whether to allow the board of selectmen to enter into a Net Energy Billing Credit Agreement for up to 20 years. According to the Maine Public Utilities Commission, net energy billing credit programs allow customers to offset their electricity bills using the output from small renewable generators.

Voters will also be asked to approve a new “Solar Energy Conversion Systems” ordinance that would lay the groundwork for the town to use solar power in the future, said Administrative Assistant Kathleen Onorato,

According to the proposed ordinance language, the proposed ordinance would also encourage the development of solar power systems in the town, should they be deemed beneficial to the town.

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