As the Town of Middlefield awaits a decision by Alpine Associates Inc., of Crested Butte, Colorado on whether or not it will purchase Powder Ridge for $1 million, the issue of financing the property remains a hot button issue at Town Hall.
"We cannot permanently bond Powder Ridge until there is a buyer," First Selectman Jon Brayshaw told a scarce crowd during Monday's Board of Selectman meeting in response to a question about whether the town planned to continue using short term financing to pay for the property, which it purchased in 2008.
Brayshaw said without a sale, bond counsel Joe Fasi would not be able to sell bonds to potential investors due to the lack of specific use of the property, or what Brayshaw referred to as a "prospectus."
Reiterating her previous comments, selectwoman Mary Johnson said the town should move ahead with permanent financing for Powder Ridge to avoid potentially higher long term interest rates.
"The town of Middlefield has purchased this property... we owe $2.85 million and we'll have to pay it regardless," she said.
As it stands, the town is due to pay an estimated $20,000 interest payment next month when the town enters into three month financing for Powder Ridge.
Brayshaw indicated that while he is also in favor of long term financing for Powder Ridge, short term financing has saved the town thousands of dollars thus far. He added that he is working with Finance Director Joe Geruch to secure nine month financing if necessary.
Resident Seb Aresco, a former board of finance member, joined Johnson in suggesting that town officials move ahead with permanent financing.
'We're putting ourselves in a dangerous situation. There should have been some kind of blueprint, or some map here to plan," Aresco said.
Marianne Corona added that since the town referendum on the Powder Ridge bond passed in April of 2007, the town has spent close to an additional $1 million for various costs associated with the defunct ski area.
Following the discussion on financing, Brayshaw announced that the town was considering hiring a financial adviser to provide expert opinion on the bonding issue.
"We want to make sure we do the right thing," he said.
Johnson raised concern about the cost, which was estimated to be around $1,700, according to Brayshaw.