Brox land purchase saved town of Milford money

To the Editor:

In the year 2000, when the town purchased the Brox pit, there were 275,000 cubic yards of sand and gravel already piled up, left behind by the seller and ready for the town’s use. It was worth over $1 million, according to the state’s appraiser and reported by a committee of the town.

For those who doubt this, there is a Brox purchase information sheet and photos of these piles of exposed material in the files at Town Hall available for inspection to any town resident who makes an information request. The piles of sand and gravel were left for the town’s Department of Public Works to use.

Now for the math. We purchased 270 acres from Mr. Brox for $1.5 million (including interest). We used the piles of sand and gravel over the past 17 years, saving approximately $1 million that we otherwise would have had to spend, bringing the net cost of 270 acres down to around $500,000.

This calculates to a net cost for each acre of under $2,000. No wonder that retired DPW director at the time, Bob Courage, called the purchase a “win-win situation.” (Milford Cabinet “Brox buy seen saving money” by Kathy Cleveland, March 1, 2000.

The news story in March 2000 was aptly titled because we were able to fend off new housing construction that the town planner at the time, Bill Parker, said would put a substantial tax burden on Milford property owners.

Voters made a smart financial choice by spending $1.5 million, avoiding tax-burdening housing and recouping $1 million by using the assets left on-site.

We have already recouped most of the cost, so why are selectmen repeating the false mantra in the April 6 Cabinet article that they “hope selling the gravel will recoup some of the cost of the $1.4 million”? (“Logging ready to begin on Brox property,” Page 1). How many times are we supposed to recoup the cost?

Because of guidance from the state of New Hampshire and the Milford Conservation Commission, the logging has been called off. The next decision would be to call off the misguided gravel operation that the selectmen greedily see as providing a huge amount of income to the town, but many others see as senseless destruction of forested acreage for which we had paid a mere $2,000 per acre. Let’s leave the forested hills standing.

Paul F. Cunningham, Ph.D.