Pending sale of Brox land called into question
To the Editor:
After a detailed review of various documents, I have several concerns regarding the pending sale of the Brox property.
First, it appears that we, the Mil¬ford taxpayers, are having our pockets picked while the Monadnock Eco¬nomic Development Corporation and Stoneyard, Inc., will be big winners at our expense. The taxpayers are selling 93 acres of town land to MEDC at a loss of $3,379 per acre (a total loss of $314,000) plus interest paid on a 15- year bond used to purchase the land. In addition, section 14:iii:e of the pur¬chase and sale agreement requires the town to file for $1 million in grant money and hand this money over to MEDC. MEDC may, at its discretion, loan up to $500,000 to Stoneyard, the ultimate owner of the 93 acres, for new equipment.
What do the taxpayers get for this large loss we are taking and grant we are providing? Stone¬yard, Inc., a stone cutting business, "will employ approximately twenty-five persons in indus¬trial and/or commercial positions" (Purchase and Sale Agreement, Recit¬als:6). The Board of Se¬lectman has stated that the 93 acres will gener¬ate $60,000 per year in property taxes which is approximately one-tenth of one percent of the town and school oper¬ating budget. In com¬parison, Hendrix Wire and Cable pays $199,000 annually in property taxes for its facility on 13 acres of land. Shouldn’t we the taxpayers expect to get over $1 million in property taxes from this 93-acre lot based on being able to place at least five Hendrix style businesses on the 93 acres? As a further ex¬ample, the land on which AIRMAR Technology Corporation resides is taxed at $87,000 annually for seven acres. Clearly, the proposed Brox property sale will be at the expense of Milford’s citizens.
Second, the United States economy is being driven by information technology (the cloud, the Internet, social media, e-commerce, etc.) and biotechnology (cures for cancer, Alzheimer’s dis¬ease, ALS, etc.). Today’s companies are looking for campus-style complexes with walking trails and quiet areas similar to the Cirtronics building. By placing a stone cutting business on the 93 acres, the Board of Selectmen is destroying the true value of the property and limit¬ing Milford’s ability to at¬tract the businesses that will grow and prosper throughout this century and into the next cen¬tury. Technology-based facilities will also have significantly higher as¬sessed values leading to much higher tax revenue for Milford. Shouldn’t we be seeking 21st century businesses for Milford’s future?
Finally, our rights to review the actions of the town government are be¬ing violated by the Board of Selectmen in their ef¬fort to force this unfavor¬able sale of town land on the residents of Milford. On Aug. 24, a petition warrant article, signed by more than 100 voters, was submitted to the Board of Selectmen pursuant to RSA 39:3. RSA 39:3 is a state law that compels the Board of Selectmen to insert any warrant article that is petitioned with 50 or more signatures into the town warrant. In fact, the state legislature made it very clear that they expected RSA 39:3 to be followed to the letter when they passed RSA 39:3-b. RSA 39:3-b states, in its entirety, "A board of selectmen is guilty of a violation if it refuses to insert an article in the warrant, after being peti¬tioned to do so in accor¬dance with RSA 39:3." As residents of Milford, the refusal of our board of selectmen to comply with state law and their at¬tempts to deny the voters’ rights should cause each of us grave concern.
I therefore ask each of you to contact the Board of Selectmen and let them know that you will hold them account¬able and not tolerate them denying the resi¬dents their right to place articles in the warrant by petition. I also encourage each of you to review the Brox purchase and sale agreement (available at the selectmen’s office) and ask, "If this were my money, would I sell land at a $314,000 loss and then give the buyer a $1 mil¬lion grant in exchange for a $60,000-per-year prop¬erty tax payment?"