Why did the County spend $700,000 of the public’s money to buy access to the County Wood Lot – when they say they have “no plans” to develop it?

As reported in the Old Colony Memorial in June 2018, the County Advisory Board voted to transfer $700,000 from the sale of the old Brockton registry building to an account to be used to buy access to the County Wood Lot.  Negotiating behind closed doors, the County Commissioners then spent this money – $700,000 of the public’s money — to buy access lots assessed at a mere fraction of what they are worth.  Old Colony Article on Access Lots June 2018

Yet, the Commissioners say they have no plans to actually develop the Wood Lot.  Isn’t this the cart before the horse then? Spending $700,000 of public money for no purpose at all? For a development that may never come to pass?  Or is this just another part of the shell game being played by the County behind closed doors?

Why then, set up a “Wood Lot Subcommittee” to decide on the future of the Wood Lot? If this Subcommittee has any real clout, shouldn’t it have been able to weigh in on whether the County should have spent $700,000 on access — or on another alternative for the Wood Lot — like conservation?  Or is the Subcommittee a smokescreen to try to deflect the public’s attention, to lull the public into thinking the Commissioners are actually interested in what the public thinks?

All the facts point to the Subcommittee being a mere smokescreen.  Behind closed doors in a series of illegal “executive sessions” the Commissioners cut a deal for access, spending $700,000 of our money, without consulting anyone but themselves.  Now, they won’t even release the minutes of these executive session minutes and are forcing the public to go to the Attorney General’s Office to get them. Only after the fact of spending the money, when the public balked, then they set up the Subcommittee.

When challenged about access in June 2018, Commissioner Pallotta said “We actually already have access to the property through Tall Pines Road and frontage there as well. But we don’t want to disturb these neighbors.”  Can we believe Commissioner Pallotta when he says this?  No, we can’t.  If the County cared at all about the impact of the Wood Lot activities on the neighborhood or the Town fo Plymouth they would not have put in industrial sand and gravel operation a few hundred feet from residences — with 80 trucks a day in and out.

Why wasn’t that $700,000 spent on preserving the County Wood Lot instead of overpaying for access for a project that, if things continue this way, will be doomed by public opposition. We will continue to seek answers.

 

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