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Granite condemns land to build culvert

By Mark Wineka
mwineka@salisburypost.com
GRANITE QUARRY — Town Attorney Chip Short said Monday night that he was unable to negotiate a right-of-way easement agreement with a Granite Quarry resident and will file a condemnation action.
Short said with the condemnation the town will pay the appraised value for the portion of Danny Gay’s property needed for a new Brookwood Drive culvert.
That appraisal should be ready this week, he added.
“It should not delay the project,” Short said of the condemnation’s effect.
Four other property owners on Brookwood Drive have signed easements, been paid by the town and have had those deed transactions recorded.
In December, the Granite Quarry Board of Aldermen authorized paying a total of $2,934 to those homeowners.
Town Manager Dan Peters said in December that Gay sought $5,000 for his easement, compared to the $2,158 the town had offered.
At that time, the town board authorized Short to pursue condemnation if he couldn’t reach a resolution with Gay.
Short reported Monday night that he had several lengthy conversations with Gay, but “he wasn’t going to agree to sign anything.”
Peters said Monday the town is moving forward with engineering for the project and hopes to review bids and award a contract at the aldermen’s February meeting.
Town officials hope the new culvert will eliminate chronic flooding problems in this particular section of Brookwood Drive.
In other Granite Quarry business Monday:
• Peters said the audit for the year ending June 30 showed revenues were down 7 percent, or roughly $40,000, which was in keeping with trends statewide among municipalities. Every town department had lower expenses for the fiscal year, except the street department, which had to pay for an expensive Bank Street culvert.
Collections on home and business property taxes were at 97 percent.
“I am pleased with the position we’re in,” Mayor Mary Ponds said.
• Police Chief Mark Cook has applied for a $24,020 grant from the Governor’s Crime Commission for records management software that will allow computer devices in patrol cars to file reports from the field. The state’s share of the grant would be 75 percent; the town’s 25 percent, or $6,005.
• Planning Director Susan Closner said the Events Committee will meet Jan. 25 with the Parks and Recreation Board to plan for some 2011 activities.
• The Maintenance Department took down the town’s holiday decorations Monday.
• The Board of Aldermen scheduled its annual planning retreat for 3 p.m. March 3.
Contact Mark Wineka at 704-797-4263.

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