RTM debates payment method for shoreline lot
Published 6:06 am, Tuesday, June 30, 2015
Representative Town Meeting members found themselves haggling over a slice of shoreline property last week — but not because of the price.
The 2-acre parcel on Fairfield Beach Road abuts Pine Creek and, at first, some RTM members balked at funding the $268,000 purchase through bonding. In fact, Michael Herley, R-1, proposed a motion to send the request back to the Boards of Selectmen and Finance to investigate other avenues for funding, although the bonding was ultimately approved.
“I agree it’s a good piece of property for the town to acquire, but I do have some reservations about bonding for this,” Herley said. “I don’t think everything has been exhausted,” he said of the funding alternatives.
The property gives the town better access to both the creek and the marshland beyond it for conservation and flood control measures. The town will use $75,000 from the H. Smith Richardson Trust Fund to fund a portion of the purchase.
Town Attorney Stanton Lesser said the elderly couple who own the parcel gave the town a good price, in exchange for a quick closing on the sale.
Herley said, however, that he had spoken with Thomas Flynn, the finance board chairman. Flynn was not present at the meeting where the bonding vote was taken, he said, and indicted he would be open to having the proposal referred back to the finance panel.
“The Board of Finance approved this in a vote, in public,” Allen Marks, D-6, said.
David Becker, a finance board member, told the RTM that the current year’s contingency budget is tight, and next year’s does not have a lot of wiggle room either. He said the town shouldn’t take the acquisition amount from next year’s contingency right at the start of the new fiscal year.
“I’m not a big fan of bonding, but land is very different,” Becker said.
After listening to the RTM debate, Herley withdrew his motion and the bonding was approved with four dissenting votes.