The town board was literally at the edge of signing a contract for almost $20,000 to hire a consultant to oversee this transaction. An additional fee, a percentage of each land transaction, would also have been paid to the consultant as part of the professional services fee.
This was going to happen, although the town administrator issued a letter advising them against it. As they argued about going ahead, one official said that the $20,000 wasn’t much so they should get the process rolling. Perhaps for Elkton officials $20,000 isn’t too much of the people’s money, but I suspect most people wouldn’t agree.
Keep in mind that this deal, if the town advances with it, has a large number of steps it has to go through to meet Maryland Department of Natural Resources approval requirements. One says, for example, that the newly acquired land must have equal or higher value than the old parcels. I don’t know how that leaves money to acquire the new land, build the $7.5-million recreation center, and provide Elk Landing with whatever the mayor promised them such as “six figures.”
We’ve got audio on that somewhere and perhaps we’ll dig it out. There’s nothing like in their own words to convey what happens in a town meeting.