Town Board considers fronting cash for well

JOHNSBURG The situation facing the Johnsburg Town Board at its last meeting seemed like the proverbial Catch 22. Two important projects in the town stand at the brink of realization: Front Street and Peaceful Valley Townhomes. Back when the two proposals were in the planning stage, developers of the Front Street project and developers of the Peaceful Valley Townhouses struck a deal with the town that would allow new sources of water to be brought online in the town system. Both needed water as a key element to move the projects forward. Peaceful Valley developer ComLinks pledged $40,000 toward a new well that Front Street developers pledged to dig. In return, Peaceful Valley was allowed to move forward with its project, drawing on existing town water sources to supply the development. The agreement between ComLinks and the town was verbal, Town Attorney Tony Jordan confirmed. Fast forward to the present and its time to dig the well. Theres just one problem. Town Attorney Tony Jordan told the Town Board that ComLinks doesnt have the $40,000 at the moment. The company used the money earmarked for the well to remove the ill-fated median that it built and then was forced to remove from the access road leading into the development because it violated state code. ComLinks has approached the Town Board asking if the town would front ComLinks the $40,000 until ComLinks receives its next round of funding this spring, Jordan said. Basically they want the Town to loan them the money so the well can be dug, Jordan told the board. Board members expressed some concerns about the proposal. Were sticking our necks out here and we dont even have a contract? asked Board member Arnold Stevens. Jordan assured the board that the town would have a contract including a mortgage or its equivalent with ComLinks securing the towns interest. Shouldnt we be compensated for loaning them the money? asked board member Eugene Arsenault. We just borrowed (money) and we have to pay interest on that. Jordan told the board that ComLinks recognizes the position it is in and will likely not balk at the terms the board requested, including interest on the loan and fees covering the work of the town attorney. Im not saying Im necessarily opposed to this, said board member Sterling Goodspeed. But how come the one of the three in all these negotiations that doesnt stand to make a profit is the one thats always asked to come up with the money? After being reassured by Town Supervisor Bill Thomas of his confidence in ComLinks and the likelihood of the town being repaid, the board agreed to loan ComLinks $40,000 contingent upon ComLinks agreeing to specific terms including paying interest on the loan equal to the towns cost of borrowing, paying a fee to cover the work performed by the town attorney, and agreeing to a July 1 date whereby if the loan isnt repaid by then, the loan would be declared in default.

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