"Real liberty is neither found in despotism or the extremes of democracy, but in moderate governments.
Alexander Hamilton

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Special Town Meeting for Lions Club and Taylor Property?

The simple mention of the Lions Club on the BoS agenda is sure to bring out a crowd and tonight's BoS meeting was no exception.
Selectman Mudgett explained that he added the item " Lions Club Facility Repairs" to address the building's roof that was damaged in last years storm. He felt that it is a town owned property and we ought to keep it in good repair. While the roof is not leaking now it would be better to prevent a future leak and then having to deal with the additional damage and expense.
That opened a discussion on many topics related to the Lions Club, the Taylor Property and Community Center by both the BoS and the public.
The insurance payment to repair the roof was $8,800 and the cost to reshingle the entire roof is estimated to be $19-24K so the net cost to the town would be $10-15K.
The discussion took a number of twists and turns, many having nothing to do with the Lions Club roof. It was mostly about what is the future of this property. Should we throw good money after bad if the decision is made to sell it?
Numerous comments were made about the Meals on Wheels program and whether it is the town's responsibility to subsidize it. Most of the BoS felt it wasn't, but all agreed it is a vital service that is well utilized and needed.
There was a discussion about whether it should be repaired, repurposed or sold. The appraisal the BoS contracted for last year determined that the highest and best use of the property was to tear it down and sell the land.
Public comments did not support this. They pointed out the many groups that use the building, Boy Scouts, Moultonboro Women's Club, Men's Breakfast, Lions Club and others. While some may consider it a " community center"  it was pointed out that the building is essentially a function hall and does not meet the needs of the community as a whole.
The topic of what does the community want was evident throughout the topics discussion.
In the end, the BoS will invest in protecting this town property by reshingling the entire roof, but there is no plan or decision as to what to do after that is completed.
Joe Cormier brought up the possibility of calling a special town meeting and enumerated how that can be done by either the BoS or by citizen petition. 50 registered voters could sign a petition and the BoS must call the meeting. Articles requiring the appropriation of funds can’t be voted on at special meetings unless at least half the town’s voters show up, or unless the selectmen have petitioned the Superior Court (RSA 31:5).
The questions to be answered would be what to do with the Lions Club and Taylor Property and once that occurs and the community reaches a consensus, the BoS could place warrant article(s) for 2019 Town Meeting for funding. 
Maybe a Special meeting in the summer when the community at large is at its peak will finally bring some closure and a plan for moving forward. It is long overdue. 

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