With nary a dissenting comment and no hands seen raised in opposition when the vote was called, voters at the annual town meeting April 3 approved a six-month moratorium on any wind power developments within the town.

The issue was moved up from the end of the 51-article warrant at the suggestion of John Hyk, who made the motion to approve the moratorium. Hyk said he had had a small wind-power device for years, along with photovoltaic cells, and described himself as a supporter of alternative energy.

“I think it’s a great idea,” he said. “But it’s all in the implementation.”

Hyk said he was initially surprised by comments from people living near industrial-sized wind turbines in places like Freedom and Mars Hill, because he thought the idea of wind power was worth supporting.

“I thought it was great,” he said. “But from what I’ve read, it’s not so great if you’re living right next to it.”

Hyk said he had heard of wind developers eyeing possible locations in Prospect, particularly in the Heagan Mountain area. Officials said the goal of the moratorium was to allow the town’s planning board to draft an ordinance and bring it before voters for their consideration. Hyk said having an ordinance in place would send the message “this is how it should be, rather than anything goes.”

“You need something, or we will be sorry,” he said.

Selectman Bill Sneed said the idea of having a moratorium in place while the Planning Board determines how best to regulate a particular issue is nothing new in town, as the town followed a similar process on the matter of subdivisions two decades ago. Sneed said the moratorium gives the Planning Board some “breathing room.”

Planning Board Chairman Ralph Carlson said the moratorium would mean no permits would be issued for any wind power developments for 180 days. The moratorium could be renewed, he said after the meeting, if that should prove necessary.

In response to a question from Fire Chief Tim Terry on whether the ordinance would apply to all wind turbines, or be more focused on the larger, industrial-size wind turbines, Carlson said his sense is the focus would be on the latter.

Turning their attention to budget matters, residents heard from Selectwoman Diane Terry that the municipal budget, as presented, was $23,000 less than last year’s, which had a bottom line of about $305,000.

Terry said, however, that the town expected to lose somewhere around $16,000 in revenue-sharing from the state in the coming year and that the town would also not be able to take as much from surplus to use for tax relief as it had last year. In the absence of a similar-sized increase in valuation, Terry said, “obviously, that’s going to reflect a tax increase.”

“That’s the hard news, and we’ll go from there,” she said.

Voters made quick work of the warrant, wrapping up at about 10:40 a.m. after having started at 9 a.m. (and taking a short break in the middle). They did approve raising the amount to come from surplus for property tax reduction from the recommended $30,000 to $45,000, after selectmen said the town could afford to do so.

Article 50, relating to the so-called LD 1 property tax levy limit, was passed over (no action taken) after Sneed said it wouldn’t be necessary.

“If we’d gone over last year’s budget by more than 3.81 percent, we’d have to do something,” Sneed explained. “We’re all right — we don’t have to do anything with LD 1.”

Voters offered praise for several organizations serving the town, including the Stockton Springs/Prospect Ambulance Service. Prospect contributes $4,000 to the service, which Fire Chief Tim Terry said is a “drop in the bucket” in terms of the overall services it provides.

“We are fortunate to have this arrangement with Stockton Springs,” said Diane Terry.

Also praised was Waldo Community Action Partners, which was given $3,911 by the town. One resident said that amount of money “appears to be a heck of a deal for the town, for the amount of services they’re providing to our citizens.” A WCAP official estimated the value of those services to be about $147,000.

“They save us money,” said Sneed. “If we didn’t do this, it would be coming out of general assistance.”

After voters approved $7,000 for recycling efforts in town and $51,000 for solid waste disposal, there was some discussion about residents from other towns bringing their trash to Prospect in order to take advantage of the town’s free trash pickup system — that is, a system that does not use stickers or any other kind of per-bag fee.

Several people said they supported the no-sticker system, because they feel it encourages residents to dispose of their trash properly rather than leaving it alongside the road or out in the woods. Sneed, however, suggested the town could explore the possibility of having a no-fee sticker ordinance.

“It wouldn’t have to be anything too fancy, I wouldn’t think,” said Sneed. Diane Terry said the issue could perhaps be addressed when the wind ordinance is brought before voters later this year.

In municipal elections held April 2, Diane Terry was re-elected to another three-year term on the Select Board. Jackie Moody got one write-in vote for that office.

Tim Terry was re-elected as fire chief for another year, defeating Charles Scherer, 46-7. Dennis Moody also received seven write-in votes. Lastly, Elwin Boynton was re-elected as road commissioner for another year, with 60 votes. He had no opposition on the ballot, and there were no write-in votes for that office.