OTISFIELD — The Heniger Park Reassessment Committee will offer a 99-year lease to leaseholders on Pleasant Lake who agree to terminate their current 50-year lease in writing between Jan. 1 and June 30, 2015.

Additionally, the committee recommends that a land capitalization value of 2.2 percent times the assessed value be used to determine the lease amount on each lot. They are also recommending the lease fee increase be adjusted based on any change in the assessed value or mill rate at the same percentage of increase.

Under the new plan, approved at the committee’s April 8 meeting, the new formula would bring in more than $90,000 in taxes over the current lease agreement. The decision to use a land capitalization formula was recommended by Daniel Dwyer, an Augusta-based real estate appraiser/consultant who the town hired to help develop new lease agreements.

According to information from Selectmen Chairman Hal Ferguson, the total lease payments for the town for fiscal year 2014 would be $9,528.75 under the current lease arrangement. That same figure, if all the lots were currently under this proposed lease arrangement, would be $100,551.35.

The latest plan will be unveiled to the public on May 15, when the committee holds an informational meeting, beginning at 7 p.m. in the Community Hall on Route 26, on a plan to revamp some three dozen 50-year rental agreements at Heniger Park which expire between 2015 and 2032.

Those who do not sign up for the 99-year plan will have their leases expire on June 30, 2040.


“We’d really like to get as much of this behind us as we can,” Selectmen Chairman Hal Ferguson said of the ongoing debate over how to offer a new lease that is fair and equitable to both camp owners and the town, which owns the 117-acre property.

In 1965, the Board of Selectmen drew up agreements allowing people to lease the lots left to the town in 1943 by noted Broadway producer Jacob Heniger for fees ranging from $0 to $50 per year for 50 years. The leases expire between 2015 and 2032, and each agreement differed. Leaseholders were allowed to build camps, and most did, paying taxes on the full value of structures.

Lease payments are calculated by the assessed land value of $15,000 for back lots and $30,000 for lakefront lots, which is then multiplied by the tax rate of $11.55 per thousand dollars of property value. The lease fee of $0 to $50 is added on.

In October, the committee, which was charged with reviewing the upcoming expiring leases, voted to recommend new lease fees based on values done by the town’s assessor, John E. O’Donnell & Associates of New Gloucester. The company assessed lakefront lots at $212,444 and back lots at $44,340. The committee then proposed the lease fee for lakeside lots be double the tax rate and back lots be quadruple the tax rate. Under that plan, the fee for lakeside lots would have been $4,907, and for back lots, $2,048.

Ferguson said Thursday that the new formula, that was approved unanimously at the committee’s April 8 meeting, will be less costly for leaseholders, particularly for those on the back lot, than what was proposed by the committee in October.

Ferguson said the new plan uses a land capitalization formula so the lots would be 2.2 times the assessed value instead of four times the assessed value for the back lots and two times the assessed value for the front lots.


The new plan followed months of debate with camp owners and discussion with professional appraisers and the town’s legal counsel.

Leaseholders say they are willing to pay more, but it must be fair and equitable and take into account that they do not own the land. The largest number of leases — 13 — expire in 2015.

Residents will vote on the final recommendations at the annual town meeting in June, but.the vote is nonbinding.

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