Tuesday, January 23, 2024

Town Meeting January 22

The future of the airport was discussed by the Thetford Selectboard for the first time last night.

It was listed on the agenda as an "update," so we didn't expect any public discussion or debates.  And we were not disappointed in that.

There were six Selectboard members and nine members of the public (mostly airport supporters) at the meeting, and there were about fifteen others tuning in on Zoom.

The update consisted of a report from the Selectboard that the bequest from our former owner was still being discussed, out of public view, between lawyers representing the town and the estate.  So, no definitive proposals exist yet.

Reading between the lines, it seems that the town has three options:
  1. Accept ownership of the airport and form a business plan to operate it.
  2. Accept ownership, and then transfer it to a private entity.
  3. Refuse ownership.
The Chair of the Selectboard expressed doubt that the Option 1 could be made to work (this is good news).  Then another member of the Selectboard said that Option 2 (which all parties seem to favor) is tricky, but possible.  He explained that there might have to be an appeal to the Probate Court to allow this.  Nobody mentioned Option 3.

The bottom line is that we are still at the very beginning of the discussion about the future of the airport.  We must continue to wait for the estate to be settled and for the lawyers to let us know what they think is possible.

The good news is that everyone in the room agreed that the continued operation of the airport is in the best interest of the town.  The Selectboard remarked about the level of interest shown by the community (both in person and online).  The Chair, noting the unusual turnout, thanked us for being there and took our picture to mark the occasion.

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