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Tuesday, September 30, 2014

The second step back

Slowly but surely, step by step.

We deal with that which has to be dealt with, I think.

I went to the selectmen's meeting last night.  I actually managed not to say a word.  Uttered a few here and there under my breath, but talking to myself is nothing new.

The EPA hearing was interesting.  Not really a hearing, more a "Q and A" sessions, with questions submitted in advance.

I will be honest and state I did not stay for the entire segment, or selectmen's meeting.  I have reached a point in time where I really need to bring a seat cushion for the chairs. Also, bed time seems to get a bit earlier for me.  Especially this time of the year.  I don't do well with Day Light Savings Time being extended so far into the fall.

Be that as it may, I am not entirely certain as to the eventual end game in the current debate.

Concerns I get. Indeed the concerns about PCBs have been a point for debate for decades.  The noise for the dredging, well under any option I think you would be stuck with that noise.  The barges would be involved, removal of the contaminated soil would be involved.

It may be I don't understand the process for any option of removal.  Heck not maybe probably.  Just as I don't see how any process for removal would not involve most of everything going on right now, except for the burying the stuff in the harbor as the end result.

So what do we do with the stuff if the CAD cells are not the option?  Ship the problem somewhere else?

I am really being sincere here, because I don't know.

It is clear the call to action calls for some serious involvement on the town's part.  To stop the present process however would mean a really serious effort on the town's part.  Probably some serious and immediate legal action.

I have read through the letter sent to the Selectmen a few weeks ago about a proposal for forming and funding a committee.  How that works to timely halt the process if that is the conclusion one would assumes is to be drawn is a bit of a mystery.

On another matter, just a tidbit ...

Reference was made to the Capital Planning Committee last night.  The fact it met and the fact that there seems to be some sentiment that a selectman's presence at these meetings is pretty important.  If the Board wants to steer things its way, perhaps.

From a political perspective, one might want to seriously consider the benefits of not being there. Especially based on the new role of the Board soon to be put into effect.

In any event, expect to see some tweaking to this new by-law from the committee.  Hopefully.

The STM date is set for December 9, 2014.  Article submittal deadline is set for 4:00 P.M. October 24, 2014.  

the big ticket item of course is the $1,465,000.00 land purchase proposal. the controversy isn't so much the purchase of the land, from my perspective anyway.  Assuming the "good opportunity" argument is valid, I don't have a problem using OPM to buy it.  My issue is the source of the funding.

Stabilization fund as a source? Sorry, not the source of funding that should be used.

What makes this a good opportunity we are told is the ability to carve up the parcel, keep what we need and recoup the investment.  Fine.  Then borrow the money, sell off the land and pay off the loan.

With today's interest rates, a twenty year loan at most would set is back a $150,000 per year.  Keep in mind too, I understand there will be arguments against the borrowing.  I am suggesting that we do so within the budget mind you and not through a debt exclusion.

Potential impact is of course always a concern.  Based on what we spent last year outside of article 4, it may mean some things get delayed until we sell off the land we don't need, but if as good an opportunity as we are led to believe, so what? We have been delaying things for years.

Anyway, remember H.L. Mencken and easy solutions folks.

This land is being proposed to meet a complex problem.  Its complexity is tied to the fact that to solve the problem you need at least another $10,000,000.00 plus over and above the land cost.  You don't have that money.  You don't and won't have a million dollars a year for 20 years with the general fund to borrow it.  You will need to go to the tax payer for another debt exclusion, and no one is proposing to do so immediately, despite the argued immediate need.

In a twist to build it and they will come, we are now seeing buy the land, and then we will build it. Anyway, the building is an argument for a later day.  It shouldn't be.  Not if the reasons to buy the land are valid in the first place.  But it is.

Watch for the additional reasons that will be presented.  There will be more.  The holes in the present argument are widening by the day.

Anyway ... again not sure the sabbatical is over, but heck why waste a writing mood.

Take care and be safe.  Who knows when we will be hanging around again.