The Cohasset Advisory committee will make its decision on the Selectmen’s 5-0 vote to negotiate a purchase of 91 Sohier Street building for Elder Affairs at Annual Town Meeting this Saturday. Advisors say they are also interested in the Capital Budget’s play on this article.
A motion by Advisor Leland Jenkins to postpone the Selectmen’s article until a later time was held in limbo by a 3-3 vote. Voting against Jenkins’ motion were Chair Peter Pescatore, a candidate for Selectmen in annual elections this year, John Chapman, and Rich Fitzpatrick. Voting in favor were Leland Jenkins, Robert Benson and George Chamillard. A 3-3 vote is a no action vote.
Three advisors felt they had not received enough information to vote on the matter. But this is sort of what happens in representative town government. Currently, three selectmen: Chair Diane Kennedy, Steve Gaumer and Kevin McCarthy – a majority of the board– received some of the highest votes from citizenry in the history of Cohasset. And now Benson, Jenkins and Chamillard, who supported their elections, don’t trust them to negotiate a purchase?
Hard to believe when they supported all of these people for election. Held big parties for them.
Jack Keniley, chairman of the Capital Budget committee, said he was not sure the Board of Selectmen or its Town Counsel and the Town Manager, had the ability to pull this off.
Andrew Willard, a former member of the Advisory Committee, spoke against the purchase.
Selectman Karen Quigley, speaking as a private citizen, said Selectmen were not able to reveal a lot of information discussed in executive session but were very aware of the issues, many of which were brought to the forefront by the Advisory committee. She added that Town Counsel had given the board excellent opinion. All five members of the BOS were well informed.
Town Manager Chris Senior, responding to many questions from Advisors:
- There is money in the capital stabilization fund and facilities to pay for some of the 91 Sohier Street expenses.
- Some of the departments being pulled into the Senior Center would have their budgets accompany them: Veteran’s agent, Town Nurse.
- Peter Pescatore noted that for the past three years the Town has experienced $400,000 a year in turn-backs. There is money available to apply towards this purchase.
- Senior said the Veteran’s agent would now become a full time employee and manage the building.
- Senior told the Selectmen and Advisors he thinks he can make this work, but he needs the vote of Town Meeting to enter into negotiations.
- Senior said the Attorney General and the Courts are realistic. Usage of the building could be more forgiving. Restrictions could be ameliorated.
Some of this could be resolved somewhat if an amendment is made to the Selectmen’s motion requiring a Special Town meeting to vote on the negotiated package at an upcoming town meeting.
The purchase at $1M is a good deal, if as Selectman Steve Gaumer said, we are allowed to use the building without restrictions. It is doubtful that Senior will be able to negotiate a non-restrictive deal, but if anyone can, it would be Senior.
We will be covering Capital Budget tomorrow night and will bring to you its words of wisdom. -Tanna Kasperowicz
© Copyright 2015 Tanna K, All rights Reserved. Written For: Tinytown Unleashed