Anderson announces she's resigning
In a surprise announcement at the end of the Jan. 8 selectmen’s meeting, Wiscasset Town Manager Marian Anderson announced she would be resigning effective Feb. 8.
Anderson said she had accepted a job in Houlton, in Aroostook County. “I am excited for the new opportunity, and believe it or not, looking forward to the snow,” she wrote in a late email after the meeting.
Selectmen’s Chair Judy Colby said she was taken into a brief closed door meeting prior to the meeting and informed about Anderson’s resignation. “It was a shock,” she said. Colby will attempt to contact Don Gerrish, who has served twice as interim town manager, to accept the job while the board searches for a new manager.
Anderson was hired in February 2014. She previously served as town manager in Richmond.
In her resignation letter, Anderson said it was an honor to serve Wiscasset, and she appreciated elected and appointed officials, staff members and residents. “I will forever appreciate the many community members that have invested their time and energy in me personally,” she wrote. “Their counsel has made me a better person and a humble leader. I am not perfect, but a much better person because of their support.”
Anderson met with members of the school committee, Superintendent Terry Wood, Finance Manager Lisa Dinsmore, Selectman Kim Anderson and Town Treasurer Vernice Boyce earlier Jan. 8. The group reached a consensus that there is $1,052,637 in an unallocated fund balance for the schools. Three percent can be retained as carryover, and the rest must be used other ways, including reducing local taxes, creating a revenue fund for capital improvements, or for special education. Once the School Committee decides, the town will vote to reassign the funds. The balance was high due to an increase in state tuition. The School Committee is considering paying down the energy project loan if there are no prepayment penalties.
Also Tuesday, Mary Ellen Barnes of Lincoln County Regional Planning Commission spoke about the ongoing broadband survey, now available online in the affected towns and in paper copies at the town office. Carla Dickstein said she visited Peregrine Turbine Technologies and learned its needs for fiber optic broadband service. Dickstein is hopeful a selectman will work toward broadband for Wiscasset. “Whether we like it or not, it is a technology we will need to have in our lives,” she said. “It’s like electricity at the turn of the 20th century.”
Selectmen also agreed to a 6 p.m. Feb. 13 workshop on what to do with the foreclosed properties that were taken for back taxes. New foreclosure notices will go out Jan. 11, and residents have 30 days after that to pay their back taxes. However, several selectmen wanted more information about the people living in the properties. Ben Rines Jr. said he did not think he could throw “kids into a snowdrift.” Bob Blagden said he opposes the payment arrangement if it goes beyond five months, after which the town would have to take the owner to court to foreclose.
The town is reviewing deeds along Water Street to see where the town property begins. For most of the properties, it appears the town owns the property after the railroad tracks, but a few deeds suggest the owner holds deed to the low water mark. More investigation will be done before any discussion resumes about a possible boardwalk between the Main Street and Recreational piers.
More discussion took place on overnight parking on Middle Street. Kim Dolce had written to the board, saying residents who live in apartments above the shops do not have access to street parking in the winter, and the lots need to remain open. Police Chief Larry Hesseltine suggested permit parking. “That would open up a whole other can of worms,” Dolce said. Katharine Martin-Savage suggested the signs be changed to state overnight parking is permitted between 5 p.m. and 7 a.m.
The town will hold a public hearing Jan. 22 at 6 p.m. on the parking issue. The Jan. 15 selectmen’s meeting has been rescheduled to Jan. 22.