TIF committee continues discussion on purchase of Bailey property

by Mary Grow

Members of China’s Tax Increment Finance (TIF) Committee spent half their Aug. 27 meeting discussing again whether to recommend the town buy Susan Bailey’s land at the head of China Lake’s east basin.

They agreed they lacked information to make a decision and set themselves a deadline for getting the information and deciding: their October meeting, which was moved from the usual last Monday of the month to Oct. 22 to avoid conflicting with the China selectmen’s meeting.

The Bailey property consists of a small parcel on the north side of the causeway, opposite the boat landing, used unofficially by boaters, and a larger lot with a house on the east side of Routes 202 and 9. In November 2016, China voters approved buying the small piece for boat landing parking for up to $10,000; but Bailey’s mortgage prohibits dividing the land.

Voters have not been asked to appropriate the $120,000 she is asking for the entire acreage.

Meanwhile, state officials responsible for boat landings have told town officials land across the busy highway from the landing is not suitable for parking, for safety reasons. Without more parking, the state will not make improvements to the landing.

At the Aug. 27 meeting, attorney Joann Austin volunteered the information that if someone were willing to pay for a survey, an appraisal and perhaps other requirements, the Bailey lots might be separable. Committee members are also discussing with China Baptist Church officials use of the church parking lot.

The other decision committee members made Aug. 27 was that if selectmen ask voters on Nov. 6 to authorize them to make appropriations from the TIF fund without town meeting approval, but with TIF Committee endorsement, the committee will not support the idea. (See related story, p. 3 )

Committee members might later support such a plan, but for now they would like time to think about it, more specific information and a standardized application form, among other things.

Their unanimous vote was to recommend postponing a vote to the March 2019 town business meeting. Robert MacFarland, chairman of the Selectboard, said he would prefer a vote in November or June when more voters are likely to participate than in March.

 
 

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