Voluntown residents to debate what to do with old meeting house - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Voluntown residents to debate what to do with old meeting house

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Voluntown residents to discuss what to do with the old meeting house. (WFSB) Voluntown residents to discuss what to do with the old meeting house. (WFSB)
Voluntown, CT (WFSB) -

With the town and the state budget in limbo right now, taxpayers in Voluntown are trying to determine if they want to spend money to tear down the old meeting house.

A nearly 200-year-old church and former meeting house that's fallen into disrepair may become history in Voluntown.

Straddled with "no budget" and lacking state support, taxpayers will learn on Tuesday night what options they have in a referendum next week.
A study found the old meeting house was in "bad" shape and should come down. But, it'd cost town taxpayers about $40,000 to demolish it.

"There's a board on the backside that flew off in a windstorm,” Voluntown resident Rachel Ricard, who lives next door to the Old Meeting house, said. “You know we have two small kids so we certainly don't want them hurt."

Ricard said she has lived next to the Old Meeting house for 17 years. She told Eyewitness News that she would like to see the building moved or taken down.

"I don't think its practical to do anything here because there's no parking like the boundary line is up,” Ricard said.

The town owns the property at the old meeting house. They got it in a lien for failure of tax payments by a previous owner.

As it is, town leaders said they're strapped for money and they can't afford the half million to revitalize it. While the town is waiting to finalize its own budget.
They're anticipating a million for the school district and payment in lieu of taxes for hosting the state forest.

Otherwise the first selectman said the mill rate will jump. The local historical society wants to sell the meeting house, instead of putting taxpayers on the hook to tear it down.

“Well, it’s a historical site. I'd probably try to have a fundraiser to raise some money to save it,” Sam Burton, who is a lifelong resident of Voluntown, said.

The referendum question to spend money to tear down the meeting house is next Tuesday. 

A second referendum question asks taxpayers to fund expansion of the local library.

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