More tenants sign Heniger Park leases

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OTISFIELD — Six more Heniger Park tenants have signed agreements to extend their leases with the town to 99 years, according Board of Selectmen Chairman Hal Ferguson.

Earlier this month, selectmen agreed to extend the offer to those who did not sign up by the April 30 deadline, but only with an “up-front” cost of $1,000 for lakefront tenants and $500 for back lot tenants. The effective date of each 99-year lease will be July 1, 2015.

There are 37 lots in the 100-acre park are on Pleasant Lake.

The signing cost covers legal expenses incurred in developing the original 99-year leases and other costs resulting from the association’s ongoing attempts to get lease concessions after the original deadline passed, according to the board.

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Those who wanted to sign on to the new lease were also required to provide a copy of a $400,000 liability insurance policy no later than Sept. 30 and ensure all environmental issues were corrected and accepted by the code enforcement officer no later than Sept. 30.

Ferguson said six of the 22 expected signers came in this week with the appropriate documentation.  He expects to see about 15 tenants sign on in the end.

“I don’t think all 22 will come in but that’s not bad, Ferguson said Thursday. The Heniger Park Association has recently said as many as 22 tenants might want to sign the agreement.

The chairman also said that two beaches that allow access to Pleasant Lake by back lot tenants have been reviewed and several private docks were found placed there by tenants. The owners have supplied the town with proof of insurance that covers the town in case someone is hurt on the docks. The town’s own liability insurance would not cover that, he said.

The land was left to the town in 1943 by noted Broadway producer Jacob Heniger, who stipulated that selectmen decide what would be done with it. In 1965, the board drew up agreements allowing people to lease 37 lots for fees ranging from $0 to $50 per year for 50 years. Tenants were allowed to build camps, paying taxes on the full value of them.

Tenants paid taxes on an assessed value of $15,000 for back lots and $30,000 for lakefront lots, multiplied by the tax rate. A fee of between $0 and $50 was added on.

Under the 99-year agreements, the value for lakefront lots is $213,000 and back lots is $44,340. A land capitalization rate of 2.2 percent is applied as the lease fee. Buildings are taxed at current assessed value.

If all tenants had signed new leases, property taxes were expected to increase from $9,528 to $100,551 annually, based on the current tax rate.

ldixon@sunmediagroup.net

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