You have asked WHAT I WOULD DO IF ELECTED. This is the first of a series answering that question.

We did not get the church below market value, as market value is a willing seller and a willing buyer agreeing on a price. If the church believed market value was higher why sell it to the town lower? The appraised taxable value was $649k. I think it would have been proper for the board to follow up with the assessor to determine if other West Lakeland property values were also inflated. That is a whole separate topic. The proceeds from the sale of the WL property is a separate transaction. The board has been combining that sale with the purchase to artificially infer a lower cost. Those are separate transactions. I made a statement that the town paid cash, with no identification of the source of funds. I bought it up to make an example of government capital projects and infrastructure and paying for that during the life and use of the asset, instead of all up front. It was part of a bonding post. I provided examples of those sort of assets. I did not profess to be an expert on finance, but I have experience and graduate work in that field. I’ve said what my experience and education is. I do attend meetings but go to them to get certain information. Many times over the years, I have been the only member of the public in attendance. You find fault with my saying ‘approximately $400 k.’ The cost of the church was $360 plus attorney fees, cost of a certified inspector, a survey, title registration, closing costs and maybe more.

The points I will make have been discussed one on one with both John and Phil. They both know the town ordinances that back up my statements. The property is zoned SFE – Single Family Estate. There are certain uses allowed with a Conditional Use Permit. One of those is Places of Worship. Another permitted use is Essential Use – Government buildings and storage. There are others, all permitted with a conditional use permit. Getting a conditional use permit requires application, a public hearing, and board action. I don’t believe the town has ever made the church into a town hall with a proper and approved permit. The conditional use permit is good for one year and may be renewed by the board. The town (clerk?) is to send out renewal letters ‘x’ days in advance of the meeting where it will be addressed. Nearby property owners are notified, and the public are given an opportunity to provide input. I find NO evidence that the town has been following its own ordinance. If they had, the annual renewal letter for the church would have caught that a new CUP was necessary for the town hall. It is still listed as class code 915 church on Washington county GIS maps.

A church had no real other conditions on use. Government use requires the building & storage to be screened. Good idea? Gee, I don’t think it’s necessary, with the same church building suddenly a town hall but needing screening. This is the town ordinance, not mine. A variance would be necessary to not screen.

Let’s talk about buying it. Did the town get a survey? I don’t think so, based on review of a problem. I would make sure the town board had a survey or absolutely knew the boundaries when acquiring or disposing of real government property. I’ll discuss the problem in a bit. Did the town get a property and building evaluation by a non-biased inspector?

Vote VINCENT ANDERSON March 12 Come to the annual meeting!