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Property Swap Topic of Discussion at Board of Finance Meeting

Monday's Board of Finance meeting held an information hearing regarding the proposed property swap between the town of Branford and the Queach Corporation.

This week’s meeting focused mainly on an informational hearing regarding the proposed property swap between 1111 Main St., currently occupied by the , and 175 North Main St., owned at present by the Queach Corporation. This was the first time the proposal has been brought directly to the Board of Finance – a committee vital to the swap’s approval. Various monetary transfers and a proposed re-balancing of the town’s pension fund were also on the agenda.

  • Citizen concerns and comments regarding the property swap were heard. Concerns included a perceived lack of research surrounding other possible options, town statutes prohibiting swaps without a bid, and the possibility of losing an historic landmark at 1111 Main St., which is the town's old post office.
  • Branford’s pension advisers Charlie Andriole and Michael Le Pore’s presentation regarding the performance of the town’s pension fund ended in a motion to re-balance the town’s portfolio in light of previous performance and current uncertainty in the market. The motion passed.
  • A motion to extend the contract between the town of Branford and the fire Chief Jack Ahern was re-referred to next month’s meeting in order to give the Board of Fire Commissioners time to draft an updated agreement.
  • Representatives from various town offices including the Board of Selectmen, the Board of Education, and , offered information regarding the property swap between 1111 Main St. and 175 North Main St. Senior Center director Dagmar Ridgway also presented information. Tied into the swap is the contentious issue of relocating the Board of Education as well as the Canoe Brook Senior Center. Both parties wished to move into the property on North Main Street when the swap was first proposed. Currently the Board of Education is considering plans to move into the current Canoe Brook facility after the senior center relocates to 175 N. Main St. Rennovating the location at 175 N. Main Street for the senior center has been estimated to cost around $3.8 million. Rennovations for the BOE's needs at Canoe Brook will be roughly $750,000. Members of the Board of Finance used the opportunity to gather as much information as possible regarding costs, logistics and the overall need of the proposed swap. Another hearing is to be held in the coming months with First Selectman Anthony "Unk" DaRos offering information. (Further information regarding the swap will be offered in a follow-up article coming soon.)
  • The board approved transferring $650 from regular wages and salary to pay for a temporary employee that assisted the Inland Wetlands enforcement officer.
  • The board approved $56,000 dollars to be used for legal counsel and advice.
  • The board approved $9,750 to go towards stipends for volunteer officers.

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