Skier Building purchase approved at $1.5 million
AVON — The Town Council is making big moves, and that expression will soon become literal.
With the intent to relocate Town Hall there, the council voted 5-2 on the final reading of an ordinance approving the purchase agreement for the Mountain Vista Office Building, also known as the Skier Building.
The $1.5 million purchase price on the building, located at 140 Mikaela Way, will be paid in cash out of the town’s general fund. An option to ask voters to approve that cash purchase before it’s made would have voided the deal, the council told voters. Some of those voters spoke out against the purchase at the public hearing associated with the issue.
“I think it’s a mistake that you don’t bring this to a vote of the people,” said Wildridge resident Tab Bonidy. “After what has happened in the past with this building, if you approve it, it’s a mistake.”
IN THE PAST
In 2014, the Avon Town Council also voted to purchase the same building, that time at a cost of $3.2 million, and also without voter approval. Voters in town gathered signatures and forced a recall on the issue, overturning the purchase decision by a vote of 418 to 229 in January of 2015.
In the April 12 public hearing for the new purchase agreement, former town councilman Peter Buckley asked if those 418 voters had also been among the 610 to vote for councilwoman Megan Burch, who garnered the most votes in the 2014 general election a few months earlier.
“If the people that voted for you in the last council election knew that you were going to disregard their referendum in a two-to-one vote, would they have voted for you in the first place?” Buckley asked.
Burch responded with a challenge.
“I’ve reached out to my constituents, the people that supported me during the election, and they say ‘yes,’ this is what they want to see,” she said. “If that means that you think that I need to be recalled, I know that’s what you’re going after, go for it, Peter, if that’s what you want to see.”
PLAN NOT YET SOLIDIFIED
Councilman Matt Gennett voted against both the initial purchase in September of 2014 and the new purchase on April 12, and received 549 votes in the November 2014 election. He said he feels the purchase is rushed, considering the fact that there will be a vote on May 3 to determine if the police should move from their current facility, which is part of the same building as Town Hall.
Gennett said the current facility could be partially renovated for less than the $1.5 million allocated for the Skier Building, buying the town some time to see what happens with the police plan, which is also tied in with a plan to move the Avon fire station.
“We don’t really have a plan,” he said. “The police are still going to be downstairs for quite a while.”
Councilman Scott Prince also voted against the purchase of the Skier Building for $1.5 million, saying he objected to the purchase price.
“I thought we could get it for less,” he said.