December 6, 2007
Town May Go to Court For ClearSource Debt
By M. D. Drysdale
The Randolph Selectboard voted Monday to take ClearSource Inc. to court to collect a payment of about $30,000 for a sewer allocation at its Route 66 manufacturing plant.
By a vote of 4-0, Selectman Larry Townsend abstaining, the board instructed town attorney Peter Nowlan to proceed with legal action if other avenues do not produce the desired check.
An official letter has already been sent by the attorney to ClearSource but with no response, it was indicated at the meeting.
The sewer charge relates to the fact that the water company discharges much more effluent into the Route 66 sewer line than it did when it first started. However, it has never paid for any additional allocation, selectmen say.
The $30,000 amount is the result of a compromise reached a few months ago. The town had demanded a much higher fee based on last year’s usage, but it had agreed to the compromise figure based on assurances that the company would cut back its discharges to the system.
That cutback in discharges did indeed take place, Selectman Steve Springer said Monday night, "and that’s really what we wanted them to do."
However, the board also really wanted ClearSource to send the $30,000 check, and that hasn’t materialized.
In voting to take the company to court, "We’re having to do things we don’t want to do," noted Townsend.
Several board members noted they were disappointed at the lack of communication with the company, which was recently involved in a merger with a Pennsylvania firm.
"They’re going to ignore it (the $30,000 bill) as long as we are," summarized Selectman Damon Lease.
‘Not Another Penny’
In another legal matter, the selectboard did not seem so eager to get involved.
The Development Review Board was expected to ask to spend legal fees to represent it in Environmental Court. Realtor Kevin Blakeman has filed an appeal with a DRB ruling with that court, challenging certain conditions that the Board added to a permit.
However, nobody from the DRB was on hand to make the request. Blakeman, however, attended because he saw the case was on the agenda.
Town Manager Butterfield said the board had three options. First, it could pay legal fees for the town to defend the DRB’s decision on conditions. Second, it could pay only for the town to defend the basic integrity of the zoning ordinance, should that come into question. Third, he said, the board could decide to pay no legal fees.
He recommended the second option.
However, some of the selectmen seemed unwilling to provide legal fees at all in a case that has dragged on for a couple of years.
"I have no interest in spending another penny" on legal fees in the Blakeman case, said Selectman Damon Lease, to a general nodding of heads.
However, Chairman Jim Hutchinson said he didn’t want to make a decision without hearing from a DRB representative, and the issue was tabled.
$200 for Bounday Pin
The board agreed to pay $200 to Fay Sherman as compensation for apparently digging up a boundary survey pin at his property while resurfacing School Street two years ago.
In the future, landowners will be approached beforehand if excavation is being considered in a similar situation.
Back to Tuesday
The board agreed that meetings would move back to Tuesday evenings in 2008, instead of Monday evenings.
Meetings will be the first and third Tuesday of each month at the Randolph Technical Career Center.
However, the first meeting in January will be on Wednesday, Jan. 2 and the first one in March will be Wednesday March 5.
Public Works chief John Rotter closed this week’s meeting with a word of appreciation for the members of the town crew for combating the first big winter snowstorm of the yearwhich was still falling outside at the time.
The crew had been at work from 5 a.m. to about 8 p.m. Monday, he said, and would be back at work at 3 a.m. Tuesday.