Dresden officials are bringing a proposal to buy this property at 540 Gardiner Road to expand parking and add a septic system for the Town Office, which currently has only a holding tank. Kennebec Journal photo by Jessica Lowell

DRESDEN — The proposal to buy the property next to the Dresden Town Office will go before voters next week.

On Tuesday, about 15 residents mulled the merits of paying $50,000 for 540 Gardiner Road. Buying the lot would give town officials the opportunity to expand parking in the village of Dresden Mills and install a septic system to serve the Dresden Town Office, which currently is served by a holding tank.

The property is a 1-acre lot with three buildings on it, a house and two outbuildings. The proposal calls for the house to be demolished because it’s in poor condition.

“It’s moldy; it’s musty,”  First Selectwoman Trudy Foss said Tuesday at the public hearing.

The town has valued the house and property at about $64,000 for property tax purposes.

Third Selectmen Allan Moeller Sr. said the town started with an offer of $40,000, but settled on $50,000.

Jeffrey Pierce speaks at a public hearing Tuesday on the proposal for Dresden to buy the property next to the Town Office. Kennebec Journal photo by Jessica Lowell

“The town is looking at a plan for the next 20 years,” said Jeffrey Pierce, who is the chairperson of the planning board and a Realtor. “It behooves the town to buy it, like we did the fire station.”

Eleanor Everson questioned the wording of the warrant article that’s been drafted.

“I’d think you’d ask the townspeople if they wanted even to purchase the land before you ask them to provide the money for it,” she said.

“If they didn’t want it, they’d vote no, right?” Second Selectmen Gerald Lilly said.

Pierce said town residents had approved a warrant article at Town Meeting a number of years ago that gave selectmen authority to investigate buying property if it’s in the best interest of the town.

“It was to purchase land for a boat ramp on the Kennebec River, and purchasing property on the Eastern River because we didn’t have any boat ramps at the time. It didn’t have an expiration date on it,” he said. “It is in the town warrant that selectmen can enter into negotiations for a piece of property to see if they town will buy it.”

Stoeller said it’s reaffirmed every year at Town Meeting.

Pierce said the property is under contract, but the contract is contingent on a vote of residents to appropriate the money to buy it.

The funds would come from Dresden’s budget surplus, which selectmen said is about $730,000.

Both selectmen and residents noted that fewer people than expected attended Tuesday’s public hearing.

The special town meeting to authorize spending the funds for the property will take place at 6 p.m. Wednesday at Pownalborough Hall, at the intersection of Routes 197 and 128, or Patterson and River roads.

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