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Town Meeting: Amendment to Fire Station Funding Article Will Call for Ballot Vote

Groton resident Rule Loving advised Selectmen that it is his intention to offer an amendment at the Jan. 26 Special Town Meeting to the $7M article authorizing construction and equipping of the proposed center fire station. He stressed that this is not about whether or not to build a new fire station, but rather about presenting this cost to all town voters, not just the two to three percent that usually attend town meeting.

"There is no accommodation when this is done at a town meeting for those who are traveling, or who have other reasons for not being able to attend. There is no absentee ballot for this," he said.

"The motion will be for debt exclusion for the funding of the fire station and will require the town to call a special election where it would be voted on by ballot," he stressed. He pointed out that the expiring debt over the next few years would be good until FY14 unless something changes. "There would be no increase."

Selectman Chairman Stuart Schulman pointed out that the method of using up to the levy limit has the effect of limiting what we can spend, but "we could exclude this at a later date."

Loving, a banker, pointed out that the results of the Dodd Frank bill had "unintended consequences" and because of the Fannie Mae issues, banks now have to do an independent assessment, not just go by a bond rating agency.

He stressed his concern that the town has not addresses Groton's $7M of the post-employment liability, noting that the town should be accruing for this. "We need to begin to set aside these funds. The government will increase its pressure," he advised.

He cautioned that if in the next few years, the town takes the bond to the voters to move it to excluded debt, "it will look like a bait and switch."

Groton Herald

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