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Petition potential obstacle to sale of Thames Valley Communication

By Greg Smith

Publication: theday.com

Published December 06. 2012 7:00PM   Updated December 06. 2012 7:24PM

Groton – The impact of a petition calling for repeal of a City Council vote authorizing the sale of Thames Valley Communications remains an unknown.

The petition was filed Wednesday and certified by City Clerk Debbie Patrick on Thursday. She said the petition contained the necessary 20 signatures as mandated by City Charter.

City Mayor Marian Galbraith said the petition is now in the hands of the city’s attorney for interpretation of the City Charter about what should be done next. The City Charter does allow for a referendum vote in certain matters, but Galbraith declined to speculate on that possibility.

“We want to make sure we are doing everything correctly,” she said.

Petitioners have called for repeal of a Nov. 19 vote by the City Council that authorized sale of the municipally owned cable, phone and Internet provider, a subsidiary of Groton Utilities, for $150,000. A final vote on the sale to CTP Investors LLC, a private investment management firm, is still scheduled for Dec. 17.

The petition was filed on the day before new charter revisions, approved by voters at referendum in November, took effect. Under the newly-implemented charter revisions, a petition would have needed 5 percent of the registered voters from the last election, substantially more than the 35 signatures that were verified on the petition.

Residents voiced frustration about the sale after it was revealed last month that the company had lost an average of more than $2 million a year since 2004. The sale would leave Groton Utilities with $27.5 million left in debt payments.


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