OTISFIELD — Town meeting voters on Saturday approved a $1.5 million municipal budget and gave selectmen the thumbs up on their proposed Heniger Park lease agreement, which would extend leases on town-owned lakeside property by 99 years.

Voters also appropriated money to help the Western Foothills Land Trust acquire a large parcel of working forest that will be available for recreational use.

More than 100 voters turned out at the Community Hall Saturday to act on a 26-article warrant. In town elections, Rick Micklon was returned to the Board of Selectmen, Richard Bean Sr. was elected road commissioner and Selectman Chairman Hal Ferguson was re-elected as chairman.

In a nonbinding vote, residents unanimously supported the Board of Selectmen’s proposed agreement with 37 leaseholders at Heniger Park, a 100-acre property on Pleasant Lake. They will be offered 99-year leases if they agree to terminate their current 50-year leases in writing between Jan. 1 and June 30, 2015. The agreement would also revise the financial agreement to benefit the town’s tax base.

“The agreement will give the town more taxes,” said Ferguson, chairman of the Board of Selectmen, who along with other selectmen and members of the Heniger Park Reassessment Committee, worked for many months to come up with what they believe is a more equitable plan to address leases at the park.

Voters also supported a request by the Western Maine Foothills Land Trust for $5,000 to help acquire and protect a 252-acre parcel known as Twin Bridges as a working forest with public recreation benefits. The purchase is part of a 730-acre, $1.6 million Crooked River Forest Project in Otisfield and Harrison in collaboration with the Loon Echo Land Trust.


Each selectman expressed support for the acquisition.

Lee Dassler of the trust told voters the land will remain as a working forest, generating revenue, but will be open for recreational purposes.

“It’s a fabulous recreational opportunity,” Dassler said.

In other business, voters approved the $1.5 million municipal budget, which will mean about a 3 percent increase over the fiscal year 2013-14 budget. It includes an average 4 percent pay hike for most employees. No raises were given in last year’s budget.

Ferguson said recently that the budget increases this year include additional money requests for the administrative and legal account, road construction reserve, tank truck bond and other items not budgeted last year, including money for a new boiler at the Town Office.

Voters also OK’d $55,000 for improvements to Cobb Hill Road, including $12,500 for the design by the Oxford County Soil and Water Conservation District and $42,500 for labor and materials.

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