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Ferrisburgh to vote on property purchase

FERRISBURGH — Ferrisburgh selectmen are asking residents on Tuesday to back their proposed purchase of a property adjacent to the town office building.
Selectmen this summer struck a $150,000 deal — subject to voter approval on Nov. 2 — with homeowners Donald and Patience Sisters for their home and 2 acres. That property sits south of the Grange Hall that serves as Ferrisburgh’s town office building and community meeting center; that building rests on 1 acre.
The deal allows the Sisterses to rent the property back from the town for at least 15 years, starting at $500 a month for five years, rising to $550 a month for the following five years, and ending at $650 a month for another five years.
The Sisterses agreed to be responsible for routine maintenance, and the town will be responsible for major issues. An inspection of the home uncovered no significant problems, town officials said.
Selectmen propose to borrow the $150,000 in the short term, payments on which would be about $900 a month.
In the long term, they hope the sale of 35 acres of town-owned land at the junction of Routes 7 and 22A will fund the purchase. Selectmen recently put that parcel on the market, with an asking price of $375,000. They do not expect a quick sale, but are optimistic a deal can be struck at some point in the next year or two.
In the meantime, town officials have calculated the carrying costs before a sale translates to an extra dollar a year per $100,000 of assessed value for a homeowner. For example, the owners of a $300,000 home would see their annual taxes increase by $3 to pay for the Sisters purchase, until the second parcel sells.
Selectmen are urging residents to support the purchase. In a recent mailing to residents, they wrote a full 3-acre site “would give the town flexibility to deal with future needs.” In earlier meetings and interviews, selectmen have cited additional parking and a second access from Route 7 as examples of needs that could be met with a larger lot. Their mailing also cites “as yet undetermined” needs.
Selectmen have scheduled a public meeting to discuss the potential purpose for 6:10 p.m. at town offices. That meeting follows a 6 p.m. meeting on proposed changes to Ferrisburgh’s zoning laws that are almost entirely state-mandated. Selectmen and planners have already approved those technical changes.
Andy Kirkaldy may be reached at andyk@addisonindependent.com.

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