On Monday May 7, at the annual town election, Cheshire residents will have the opportunity to authorize the Select men to pursue the sale of a remote portion of the watershed to the state to become part of the Greylock reservation. The state has indicated an interest in the land since it is surrounded on three sides by present reservation land. The funds from the sale would help offset a $1.2 million judgment that all taxpayers are repaying for land taken by eminent domain for the present water well. The pros for the sale are as follows:
* State will pay approximately $1 million funded by the Mass DCR Land Protection Program. We will get some of our tax dollars back.
* State will then pay approximately $7,000 to $10,000 every year in lieu of taxes.
* Sale will benefit all taxpayers and water users-- it will reduce tax burden and/or provide needed funds for many departments and services.
* Of the 750 acres of protected water shed only 440 acres of the most isolated property will be sold, 300+ acres, including the old reservoir, would still be available to the town.
* In a letter dated June 10, 2011 the state said the land will be conserved as is forever, for camping, hiking, fishing and hunting for all to enjoy. It will not disappear and it will be protected.
* Selectmen have agreed to appoint a committee to be part of team to come up with favorable agreement, address all concerns and insure sale benefits all before they approve the sale.
I urge all to vote "yes" for pursuing the sale which I feel will benefit all taxpayers in the near future, both water users and non water users.