BRUNSWICK

A resolution to sell the town recreation center to Brunswick Development Corporation and use the proceeds to offset school budget cuts passed an increasingly divided Town Council in a 7-2 vote Monday.

Council Vice Chairwoman Margo Knight and four others co-sponsored the item.

“This is a good resolution for the town,” Knight said. “Brunswick Development Corporation has stepped up now because they have the funds to give us the sale price, so we can apply it to our 2013-14 budget, and we really need it this year.”

Town officials say selling the property to Brunswick Development Corporation “for not less than $200,000” will bring immediate budget relief and simplify the sale of both the municipal and recreation buildings to a Wiscasset-based nonprofit corporation.

Brunswick Development Corporation already is set to acquire the current town offices at 28 Federal St., part of the deal which allowed land to be acquired for the new police station at Stanwood and Pleasant streets.

Coastal Enterprises Inc., of Wiscasset, offered several weeks ago to buy both Federal Street buildings and eventually replace them with its centralized state headquarters.

Having to negotiate only with one owner — the Brunswick Development Corporation — is one way the town can show good faith toward the eventual sale, councilors said.

But some townspeople are uncomfortable with the Brunswick Development Corporation’s role as the town’s ersatz banker.

They worried that its close ties to the council — at-large Councilor John Richardson Jr. and Chairwoman Suzan Wilson are Brunswick Development Corporation board members — present a conflict of interest.

Town attorney Pat Scully has issued several opinions that the coun- cil’s Brunswick Development Corporation liasions present no such conflict.

Others criticized the town’s pending acquisition of Building 211 at Brunswick Landing, the U.S. Navy’s former fitness center, as neither a perfect replacement nor a proximal substitute for the existing recreation center at 30 Federal St.

Among the shortcomings at Building 211: a basketball court that is not of regulation size or floor construction, inadequate seating space for spectators, and an eventual transfer of the parking lot and adjacent land that will be delayed because of ongoing environmental remediation.

Many still bristle at the idea of losing an in-town center and having to trek more than four miles east along heavily-traveled roadway to get to the new center.

Brunswick Development Corporation is a nonprofit local development group formed 18 years ago to help foster business growth in town.

None of the proposed sale’s opponents disparaged CEI’s desire to locate in Brunswick. Instead, they worried that the hurry-up sales procedure is a manufactured crisis and that the council had conducted too much of the public’s business in private.

Councilors John Perreault and Sarah Brayman opposed the sale, saying the process moved too quickly and without enough consideration.

Richardson argued the upcoming sale to Brunswick Development Corporation is an opportunity the town cannot ignore.

“All of the risk is on BDC,” he said. “I don’t want to be the councilor who held onto municipal property only to use property taxpayers’ money to raze that building five years later when we couldn’t find someone to occupy it.”

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