Essex seeks foreclosed land for water plant

— Finance Committee chair Tom Scozzafava said he felt towns should pay for the back taxes in any land swap.

“We have had these discussions through the years,” Scozzafava said. “I think that interest and penalties should be dropped but the towns should be responsible to pay the taxes that go with it.”

“I would think that there would be funds available for land acquisition,” Boisen said.

Some supervisors questioned the request.

“I would want to know that there is no other option available,” Wilmington Supervisor Randy Preston said. “If I am convinced that there is absolutely no other place for this plant to go, then maybe I will consider it.”

“I do not know how I go back to my taxpayers and say that I voted to give a property to the taxpayers of Essex after asking them to pay for a new piece of property in Westport for a water system,” Supervisor Dan Connell said.

“I do not think they should be given away for free but we need to have a way to be made whole through the back taxes,” Elizabethtown Margaret Bartley said.

“I think the way to make it fair is to make the town responsible for the taxes,” Scozzafava added.

Boisen said that the need for the property was stated through the state Department of Health.

“The Health department says that we need a new plant, so we need a new plant,” Boisen said. “The tribunal order from the Department of Health expresses our need for this, not a desire. If we do not need the land, then it would revert back to the county.”

Manning said the board should take a look at all options.

“If this is a dump and you are not going to get anything for it and it will benefit the town, you may want to consider something,” he said. “Then again, if it is a property that has some value to it then you might want to think about it.”

The resolution for the land sale was withdrawn after the discussion pending more information on the matter.

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