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Easton Goes to Town Meeting on Property Debate

The Board of Selectmen set a town meeting for June 27 on whether to appropriate $191,000 from the undesignated fund balance to the Capital Project Fund for South Park Avenue.

The town owes more than $307,500 of the principal payment for the South Park Avenue property. There is $115,000 in the capital project fund, which is money received from the New England Prayer Center.

In light of a recent debate about how to fund the principal payment due in July, the Democratic Town Committee formed a South Park Committee to review the contract between the town and the New England Prayer Center, said Selectman Bob Lessler.

The South Park Committee submitted a series of questions concerning the New England Prayer Center's obligations, commitments and the town's plan concerning the South Park Avenue property. The South Park Committee consists of Christopher Neubert, Robert DeVellis and A. Reynolds Gordon.

"I would love for [the Prayer Center] to put up a United Way thermometer," said First Selectman Thomas Herrmann of the funds that the Prayer Center has raised. "[Receiving funds] is dependent on getting matching grants."

The Prayer Center still intends to purchase the property, said Herrmann. "They continue to demonstrate their faith and commitment by extending the purchase agreement. We have to believe that they believe."

The Prayer Center recently had an appraisal done of the property, which came in at the same amount as it did three years ago, Herrmann said.

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