June 13, 2021

Rehoboth to Vote on Buying Francis Farm

Posted

Voters at the May 11 annual town meeting will have to decide whether or not to approve the town’s purchase of Francis Farm for use as a senior center.
The meeting will be held at 7 pm in the ballroom of the Ramada Inn at 213 Taunton Avenue in Seekonk. All attendees will be required to wear masks and remain six feet apart during the meeting.

The article reads in part: To see if the Town will vote to authorize the Board of Selectmen to purchase, acquire, or take by eminent domain, and to appropriate $2.8 million dollars to fund said purchase or taking, along with all necessary legal and engineering and renovation costs, that certain parcel of land totaling approximately 42.02 acres, as more fully shown on that plan entitled “Land Owned by Francis Farm, Inc. Rehoboth, Massachusetts.

Primary funding for the purchase and upgrades to existing facilities will come from insurance proceeds received after fire destroyed the previous Council on Aging building last September.

Selectmen explained the purchase of this property and buildings will not raise real estate taxes.

A separate article calls for the establishment of a senior center stabilization fund. It reads: To see if the Town will vote to establish a special purpose stabilization fund under MGL Chapter 40 Section 5B to reserve for expenditures related to (i) acquisition of interests in land or building(s) for a senior center; (ii) acquisition of tangible assets, including equipment or furniture for a senior center (iii) or the undertaking of capital projects that have a useful life of at least 5 years for a senior center, including building renovations, expansion, construction and land acquisitions related thereto; and (iii) the payment of debt service on capital purchases and projects related to the senior center, whether the projects were approved prior to or after the effective date of this article; and further to raise and appropriate or transfer from available funds a sum of money to said stabilization fund; or to take any other action relative thereto..

Another warrant article will ask voters to authorize $995,000 to purchase the land and building located at 340 Anawan Street to serve as the Town Office Building.

The warrant explains why voters should approve the article: The intent of this purchase is to establish a new Town Hall. This building is well-suited in both its proximity to the center of town and in physical size to accommodate the needs of town government. The Board of Selectmen and Finance Committee have been working for two years to find a solution which will meet the needs for the new office space without raising taxes. We are fortunate to have identified 340 Anawan Street as the solution. The source of funds is savings accrued in the FY21 Operating Budget and reoccurring revenue from the solar and cannabis projects in town. The purchase of this property and building will not raise real estate taxes.

The complete warrant can be accessed on the town website: https://www.rehobothma.gov

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