Gilead voters to consider negotiations on building purchase
Gilead will hold a special Town Meeting Saturday evening to decide whether to negotiate the possible purchase of a garage currently owned by Cole’s Custom Auto. The building would be used as a town garage, a step toward addressing the town's equipment-storage issues.
If voters decide in favor of negotiations, another Town Meeting would likely be called for Nov. 30 to vote on whether or not to make the actual purchase, according to Town Clerk Lin Chapman.
The opportunity to buy the 40-by-70-square-foot building, located just off Route 2, was recently brought to the Board of Selectmen by Selectman Fran Head, Chapman said.
The building is currently listed for sale by Head’s company, Maine Street Realty in Bethel, but she is not personally handling the listing, Chapman said.
If the town ultimately bought the building, it would house a large plow truck, a smaller truck, a bucket loader and smaller equipment, according to Chapman.
The two trucks currently share the Fire Station building on Depot Street with two fire trucks.
But with four vehicles and only three doors, extra maneuvering is required to get the trucks in and out, said Chapman.
In addition to those vehicles, other vehicles belonging to the GFD and to the state sit outside on Chapman’s property, which is adjacent. Firefighters have her permission to drive across her yard, if necessary, to hasten the response to an emergency.
The bucketloader is also stored outdoors, at the transfer station.
Chapman said many residents are not aware of the storage issues shared by the departments.
A public hearing on the question took place Nov. 9, with about 40 people attending. The estimated purchase price stated at the meeting was $155,000, Chapman said.
The garage, located approximately .2 mile from the Fire Station, was built in 2003.
The day after the hearing, at the selectmen’s meeting, Sue Saunders of the GFD presented a petition asking that negotiations take place, according to Chapman.
Head and Selectman Steve McLain voted to put it before residents to decide, Chapman said. The third selectman, Jeremy Morin, was unable to attend, she said.
An information sheet about the proposal was circulated in town last week, Chapman said.
Signed “Concerned Citizens,” the sheet shows the town currently owes $168,482 in debts, and breaks down how they are allocated.
It concludes by listing three primary reasons to buy the building and land: 1) Space is needed for town equipment; 2) The price is “right in a buyers’ market” and interest rates are very low, and if the town waits it will pay more to build and will not have the location provided with this option; 3) “Safety of residents and people traveling our highways and quick response.”
The meeting will start at 7 p.m. at the Town Hall.