GROTON -- The sale of the old Center Fire Station and the purchase of a new pick-up truck are among the warrant article decisions that voters will face at Town Meeting.
Selectmen cast their votes on almost all of the warrant articles at their meeting on Monday, coming only to disagreement over a personal property revaluation.
The article requests money to carry out an order from the state Department of Revenue that requires towns to relist and revalue all personal property accounts for businesses.
Selectman Josh Degen argued that the directive was a tax on personal property that already came with a sales tax. The revaluation, he said, was the local town charging citizens a tax evaluation on property they already own.
Town Manager Mark Haddad said the town already charges Degen a vehicle-excise tax, which is a tax on property he already owns.
"You sure do," Degen said. "It's because I'm driving it over the road."
Chairman Peter Cunningham asked if it would be best practice for the town to comply with state law and the DOR.
"Wouldn't it be a best practice for the state to do what it said it would do and fund Chapter 71?" Degen asked.
The board voted 3-2 on the article, with Degen and Selectman Jack Petropoulos voting against.
The town's omnibus budget, proposed as a warrant article, is contingent on voters approving a debt-exclusion for the new Center Fire Station at the special town meeting this week. The extra money would instead go to fund a shortfall in the school budget.
Selectmen also came to a split over the article requesting the sale or lease of the former Prescott School, which had no request for proposal responses when it was marketed for sale as a hospitality building.
But a few different businesses have expressed interest in the building, including Greg Yanchenko, a local architect, who offered $35,000.
Haddad read a letter to the board from one citizen expressing surprise that the board did not use a broker to help with the sale, which the author argued would gain the town thousands more dollars.
Petropoulos seemed to support the concern in the letter, and said he had a hard time accepting the article.
Petropoulos suggested putting the building to a professional who knows how to market the building.
But Selectman Stuart Schulman disagreed.
"The fact of the matter is this stuff gets out there," he said. "People know Prescott's for sale, and I don't have a sense that people are just snapping at it."
The hotel, Schulman said, is clearly a nonstarter. The board is waiting for more information and will be meeting with Yanchenko before making a decision.
Meanwhile, the highest bid for the fire station came in at $100,000 from Dan McElroy, who proposed to convert the second floor to a residential space while turning the first floor into a bike shop and food stand.
"We think this is an excellent complement to the Rail Trail," Haddad said, referring to the group that reviewed all five proposals. The bid also offered the highest amount of money.
But the board only reached these warrant recommendations after a lengthy argument over quarterly financial reports, which Petropoulos brought up.
After the board discussed a positive review the town received on financial management, Petropoulos pulled out a section of the charter that requires written financial reports from the Finance Department.
Haddad argued the board already receives monthly financial reports, citing that in his six years as chief financial officer for the town, Groton has always had a balanced budget.
After some disagreement among other members, Haddad said he will get the board a quarterly report, although it is "extra work" the department is giving them.