Selectmen give OK for appraisal on Bailey property

by Mary Grow

At their Jan. 22 meeting, China selectmen unanimously authorized Town Manager Dennis Heath to have an appraisal done on part of Susan Bailey’s much-discussed property at the head of China Lake’s east basin. The manager expects the appraisal to give selectmen a basis for further negotiations with Bailey.

Bailey owns two pieces of land: about 6.2 acres across Causeway Street from the boat landing, used for unofficial parking, and a larger piece on the far side of Lakeview Drive. Selectmen and Tax Increment Finance (TIF) Committee members would like to acquire the smaller piece and make the parking official.

In the past, they were told that the two parcels could not be separated. Heath said at the Jan. 28 TIF Committee meeting they now can be, because after the house on the larger property burned, the insurance paid off the mortgage on the whole property.

Heath also told the TIF Committee getting the appraisal is “a little more complicated than I would have liked.” He is seeking a commercial appraisal; the first appraiser he heard from would have charged $2,800, compared to Heath’s initial estimate of $500 or so. Heath is seeking other quotes.

In November 2016 voters approved using up to $10,000 in TIF funds to buy the smaller piece. At the Jan. 22 selectmen’s meeting, Heath said the town’s valuation is about $1,700, because only about half an acre is dry enough to be usable.

Selectmen also approved unanimously Heath’s proposal to get a design and cost estimate for adding a climate-controlled records storage space, probably a new 12-by-12-foot room on the south side of the town office meeting room.

The current area is about four-by-eight feet, Heath estimated, and is full. State law requires municipalities to keep a variety of documents, some forever. The proposed new room would accommodate the present collection and future additions.

In other business Jan. 19:

  • Heath announced the schedule of March pre-town meeting informational sessions on the 2019-2020 budget, as follows: Wednesday, March 20, at 6 p.m. at Erskine Academy, on Windsor Road; Sunday, March 24, at 2 p.m. at the Albert Church Brown Memorial Library, on Main Street in China Village; and Wednesday, March 27, at 6 p.m. in the town office meeting room. The annual town business meeting is scheduled for 9 a.m. Saturday, April 6.
  • Board members reappointed Selectman Irene Belanger a member of the town Forestry Committee, with Belanger abstaining on the vote.
  • In response to an earlier selectmen’s discussion of comparative costs of crushing glass versus adding it to the mixed waste in the hopper, Transfer Station Manager Tim Grotton reported crushing costs a maximum of $30 per ton, versus $92 per ton to treat glass as mixed waste.

Selectmen postponed action on three items: Heath’s draft policy for awarding China’s Boston Post cane, to allow time to make sure it conforms to the publisher’s original intent in 1909; Heath’s proposal to create a new parks committee, expanding the Thurston Park Committee’s jurisdiction to the town forest behind China Primary School; and the revised personnel policy they have deliberated at past meetings and a special workshop.

The next scheduled selectmen’s meetings are a regular meeting at 6:30 p.m. Monday, Feb. 4, and a budget workshop at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 5.


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