On March 13, the voters of Madison sent a clear message to their selectmen: We really don’t like your going into executive sessions. Especially when you don’t even tell us what the meeting is about, as required by law.

At the public hearing about the Richmond-Madison gas pipeline, the Madison selectmen, town manager and representatives of Kennebec Valley Gas Co. went into executive session. Chairman Bob Hagopian stated that the ‘secret’ meeting was about “economic development.”

There’s no way that meeting could have been about economic development, especially Madison’s economic development director was not at that meeting. Seems that an economic development director would be necessary for such a deliberation.

After the executive session ended, Town Manager Dana Berry announced that Madison would no longer compete with Kennebec Valley Gas Co. The only new information coming forth from this public hearing was that the people of Madison were sold out. Even worse: Town officials still want Madison taxpayers to float a bond for $72 million.

As they say on TV, “But wait!” It gets even better.

After the deal (the details of which we shall never know), Kennebec Valley Gas announces that it will not only not ask Madison for a TIF, it will give 5 percent of the profits from sales in Madison to the taxpayers. We did not forget that Kennebec Valley Gas spent thousands of dollars and months of effort telling Madison residents that they (Madison) couldn’t offer tax relief for the same gas line.

I’ll bet those towns that gave Kennebec Valley Gas the sweetheart TIF deal wish they had held out for the same deal Madison got. Also, I wonder if the Kennebec Valley Gas financers are now willing to back the private gas company now that the Madison $72 million is no longer available.

Peter P. Sirois

Madison


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