Wiscasset residents approved the purchase of a new police cruiser, a new archway and entrance to the Ancient Cemetery on Federal Street, and voted to allow the town to adopt a solar ordinance and enter a net energy billing agreement.

The police cruiser was approved in a 789-487 vote while the cemetery archway and solar ordinance passed, 701-575 and 781-443, respectively.

Residents also voted 704-511 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.

In total, 1,295 Wiscasset residents voted in an annual town meeting referendum vote on Tuesday, according to voting results from Wiscasset Town Clerk Linda Perry.

Wiscasset Police Chief Lawrence Hesseltine told The Times Record the new cruiser will replace one of the department’s three cruisers, the oldest of which is a 2015 Ford Explorer with over 100,000 miles.

“Our officers spend a lot of time in these vehicles responding to emergency situations,” Hesseltine said last month. “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.”

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 can’t spend more than $55,000 on the new vehicle.

The town also can’t spend more than $50,000 on a new metal archway and stone entrance for the Ancient Cemetery on Federal Street, which will replace a rotten picket fence that was taken down over the summer.

Wiscasset’s new “Solar Energy Conversion Systems” ordinance voters cleared lays the groundwork for the town to use solar power in the future, Administrative Assistant Kathleen Onorato told The Times Record. According to the ordinance language, the new rule encourages the development of solar power systems in the town, should they be deemed beneficial to the town.

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