Ongoing real estate talks may impact town budget

By MADELINE HUGHES 

At Tuesday night’s Selectboard meeting, Vice Chair Jaime Heins and member Mary Kehoe were directed to continue negotiations on a potential real estate purchase over the coming week.

This decision comes after the board has met in executive session four times since December about a real estate purchase.

“We will continue to pursue discussion of a potential real estate deal,” board chair Jerry Storey said after the board spent 45 minutes behind closed doors.

The deadline to finalize items for the Town Meeting Day ballot is fast approaching. The board hoped to approve all of the meeting warning items on Tuesday night, but delayed their final steps to Jan. 29 given the unfinished business from executive session.

“Given we have one more item (that pertains to the town warning), we will continue the hearing,” Storey said referring to the public hearing on the proposed town budget for town meeting.

At Tuesday’s board meeting were Shelburne Fire Chief Jerry Ouimet, Deputy Fire Chief John Goodrich, Rescue Chief Jacob Leopold and Deputy Rescue Chief Devin Major. They have been included in previous closed-door sessions, but were not included in the one Tuesday night. However, after the Selectboard meeting concluded, Town Manager Lee Krohn met with the chiefs.

The private discussions have occurred since the Selectboard’s Dec. 13 day-long budget work session where department heads laid out their budget needs for fiscal year 2019-20.

The Dec. 13 meeting minutes noted: “An old issue may be revisited, studying how and whether the fire station could expand or move elsewhere to a more appropriate and functional location; likely a joint, shared facility with Rescue, perhaps replacing two buildings that need work with one shared station. All Chiefs agree on the concept.”

The board expects to have a decision Tuesday night at a special Selectboard meeting where members will wrap up the budget for the Town Meeting Day vote.

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