CORRECTED: The Minutia of Getting Your Way Locally
Among the oddities of local politics is the stuff that you have to care about and pay attention to. A number of years ago, Tiverton opted to build three new elementary schools. I wasn’t around for the debate, but at least a significant portion of the electorate believed that the old schools would be sold at the highest possible price to offset the cost.
At last year’s financial town meeting, the voters gave the Town Council authority to transfer ownership by the following language:
RESOLVED, that pursuant to Section 204 of the Town Charter, the Town Council is hereby authorized to transfer ownership of any of the following of Tiverton’s municipally owned buildings: Nonquit School, Old Ranger School, Judson Street Community Center, Senior Center, Town Hall, and DPW facility; provided however that the Municipal Facilities Committee shall have completed its study of the current use and structural status of such buildings and submitted its
recommendations to the Town Council; and further provided that any such transfer is at not less than Fair Market Value (FMV); and provided that any such transfer be subject to such conditions as required by the Town Council. This approval shall expire as of the second Saturday in May, 2011.
The resolution was explicitly amended to eliminate the clause: “or if less than FMV, to a non-profit or government entity acting for the public good.” Well, wouldn’t you know, with the deadline fast approaching, the Municipal Facilities Committee still has yet to submit its study and recommendation. But it has put together a request for proposals for one building that would, among other things, express preference for land uses that would allow public access to any building built on the property and give purchase price only 25% weighting in the decision process.
And the wheel goes ’round and ’round. Guaranteed: the reauthorization for the sale will attempt to allow the building to be given away to a nonprofit again. They’ll keep on trying until their preferred result slips through.
Thanks to Councilor Brett Pelletier for correcting me with regard to the significance of the 25% figure. I had written that offers with 25% of value would be considered, but the proposal is actually that purchase price will only count for one-quarter of the decision when comparing offers.