Alna selectmen

For sale by Alna: Town wants $130K for old town office

Board eyes tax club, earlier bills
Posted:  Wednesday, May 15, 2019 - 7:45am
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Alna selectmen decided May 8 to ask $130,000 for the former town office and its two acres. The property, next to the new, modular town office on Route 218, will be for sale by owner.

The board wondered how long the cape will take to sell. Some of the less expensive properties in town have sold quickly, Second Selectman Doug Baston observed.

The board also mulled asking voters at a special town meeting next month to revise the March annual town meeting decision to apply 75 percent of the sale money to the bond payments for the new town office and the rest toward finishing the new building and lot. Because the bond cannot be pre-paid, the money will sit, earning nothing, First Selectman Melissa Spinney said. “It was a dumb idea,” Second Selectman Doug Baston said. 

Members said they will consider proposing voters change it to a 50-50 split. That would be better than entirely overturning an annual town meeting vote at a special town meeting, Baston said. “People don’t like to have things undone at a special (town) meeting that were done at a regular meeting ... That’s just asking for trouble.” 

The board is already planning the 6 p.m. June 12 special town meeting at the 1789 Alna Meetinghouse to consider committing taxes in July and, due to the earlier date, giving property owners 90 days instead of 45 to pay. Selectmen hope getting taxes sooner will save on interest for a tax anticipation note.

So far, the only other warrant article asks what voters will raise to build the ramps, handrails and any other items to make the new town office Americans with Disabilities Act-compliant. The draft warrant states the board proposes $10,000.

Resident Paul Crandall, past Lubec selectman and past interim town manager in the Washington County town, proposed Alna's collection of taxes be split into two bills a year. It has worked in Lubec for 35 years, he said.

Selectmen recalled the town’s auditor Fred Brewer advising against the change in the past. The board plans to ask him again.

Crandall and the board also discussed the idea of voluntary monthly payments, with no charge for a missed payment if the full amount for those six months is paid when due.

Baston said it might cut delinquencies because people would budget for their taxes.

Plowing committee chair David Abbott reported, the panel found the language in other towns' contracts are similar to Alna's, and it's best to seek contracts early; as for concerns the town’s contractor Hagar Enterprises uses too much material, he said the town can control that by how much it buys.

Selectmen announced the new food pantry's opening at the town office. Pantry hours are 8 a.m. to noon Tuesday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday, and 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday. Walk-ins are welcome. Call 586-5313 for eligibity guidelines and other details.