While selectboard members are interested in Barnes’ proposals, they wanted to make it clear they are required to follow specific guidelines for transferring the land. Selectboard chair Tom Consolino made the point that any land the town owns cannot be donated. “We cannot donate land, we would have to sell it at a reasonable price and only sell it for the tax money, not for economic development.”
Selectboard member Meg Streeter added that the town would keep the door open to selling said properties. “One thing we should make clear is that we are interested in selling the land we acquired through tax sales, but not in donating it. We need to clarify that we will sell them under the same conditions we have sold other tax sales, which is the amount we’re owed, or someone can make the town an offer.”
Consolino and board member James Burke suggested the board keep the response simple, so as to not get ahead of themselves, and tell Barnes that the town simply cannot donate land but would be willing to sell it in the future.
Barnes also requested a $200,000 low-interest loan from the town, which board members agreed the town hadn’t the ways or means to provide at this time. Streeter left the door open for the future “I think it’s fair to say that next year we would be happy to explore economic development funding for him, or anyone else who wants the town to support their applications.”
Haughwout agreed that the town always needs to be thinking ahead. “I think we should be committed to looking into economic development funding. We should be doing it regardless of someone now asking for money.”
Town manager Scott Murphy reported that the town had received a payment of $93,000 from FEMA for engineering work already performed on the Haynes Road bridge damaged in Tropical Storm Irene. Murphy said the work on the bridge is continuing, and the town hopes to have it open to traffic within a month to six weeks.
Murphy also said the town received its first 1% local option tax revenue payment of $58,000. The tax option was approved by voters last April to tax certain items an extra percentage. The state pays the town 70 cents on the dollar of the tax money collected by merchants. According to Murphy, the town is not sure how the money will be put to use.
The board also held a special meeting to hear the case of a 25-pound dog named Carson with a history of biting. This being the dog’s third reported incident of biting, Police chief Joe Szarejko was on hand to recommend that the dog, which is currently unlicensed, must be registered and vaccinations must be up to date. Carson’s owner, Genie Bent, explained that she was not there at the time of the latest incident and regularly keeps a shock collar on the dog to keep it from barking.
Haughwout voiced concern about an out-of-control dog population, citing an awful lot of bite hearings. “Owners need to be responsible about this,” said Haughwout. “I don’t know what is going to make the public understand that this is a public safety issue, because clearly our ordinance isn’t doing it. I want to know why there’s so many incidents before it comes to a hearing, because to me a third bite is pretty serious.”
Szarejko told the board that there was no action taken after the second incident because the bite victim was reluctant to make it an issue. According to Det. Mark Denault, of the Wilmington Police Department, all investigated dog bite incidents are brought to the selectboard.
Following testimony from Bent, Consolino ordered the dog must be leashed and muzzled when outdoors, must be in a secure location when at its residence, and that a police officer be allowed on the premises to check on compliance with these conditions periodically.
The town also added Davis Drive and East Brook Crossing to a list of roads where snowmobiles would be permitted to travel.