"Real liberty is neither found in despotism or the extremes of democracy, but in moderate governments.
Alexander Hamilton

Sunday, April 17, 2016

A little history

Since this is the year that the BoS will make some important decisions regarding the Town owned  Lions Club, this is as good a time as ever to briefly look back at the history of this property. I found this very informative article from the Moultonborough Historical Society History of the Moultonborough Lions Club which takes you from 1963 to early 2001. The building itself was constructed in 1969-70.
To get us to the present, at 2007 Town meeting, the town purchased the property for $495,000, the full appraised value at the time. As a non-profit organization, the Lions Club could not sell the property to any buyer for less than the appraised value. The article passed by an overwhelming 80% majority, 271 to 69.
There is some confusion as to how and why this property was marketed to the Town. I don't believe that voters were ever told it was the "last best land in town" as some seem to think. I do believe that the Recreation Strategic Planning Team while looking for a location for a proposed Community/Senior Center thought of this property as the " best available" on the market at the time. Keeping in mind that the real estate bubble had yet to burst and property values were still climbing, they were probably correct.

After purchase, the property was leased back to the Lions Club by the Town. The lease and use agreements were developed by Town counsel and the Lions Club attorney. The lease agreement was actually read aloud at 2007 Town Meeting by Al Hume, who opposed the purchase.
The Lions Club uses the property rent free and tax free, but it is important to remember that the Lions Club was a tax exempt non-profit before the sale so there was no loss in tax revenue to the Town.
Under the lease, the Town is responsible for the grounds, including plowing, mowing and sanding. The Lions Club is responsible for repair and maintenance of all plumbing, heating, air conditioning, ventilation, electrical and lighting systems and equipment within the premises and all exterior maintenance of the building including painting. The Lions Club is also responsible for all heat, light and all utility charges.
Since the inception of the lease, the Lions Club has expended over $250,000 in operational expenses, while continuing to function in the role of de facto community center. In the past 8 years, they have replaced the stove, furnace, well pump,dishwasher, fire alarm system and other items totaling over $17,000. While it was a rent free lease, the Lions Club members volunteer their time to oversee the operation and maintenance of the clubhouse.
In addition, since 2007 the Lions Club has donated to various charities approximately $170,000, and awarded $61,000 in scholarships.On a monthly basis over 8 years it amounts to about $5,000 per month.
Of late, the Community Garden on Lions Club land, under the leadership of Ken Kasarjian, is poised to have it's best season yet.
At a minimum, the roof will need replacement within the next few years, hopefully before a leak occurs and ADA compliance will need to be addressed.
Discussions between the Town and the Lions Club will be underway in the very near future. Personally, I don't see any major obstacles to arriving at an agreement in fairly short order.

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

Not to be word-picky, but the Community Garden is on town property, not Lion's Club property. As you mention, the town bought the property and owns it.

Anonymous said...

I think your math is a little fuzzy relative to the $5,000 per month.

Anonymous said...

The Lions Club does a lot for this community and we should do all we can to support them. Who would provide these services if they went away? I for one have no problem with my tax dollars supporting them.

Pa said...

Please note that the Moultonboro-Sandwich Senior Meals Site Council has raised many thousand of dollars for years to support this program which includes capital expense for dishwasher, refrigerators, stove, tables and chairs. The towns which we support have also been very generous at town meetings. It is refreshing to see the recent history of the Lions Club described accurately here on the blog.

Please support the meals on wheels and & senior meals as we go through this period of transition.

John McRae

Moultonboro Blogger said...

Not fuzzy math-operating expenses:$2,568 per month
Donations :$1,756 per month
Scholarships :$635 per month
Total: $4,959 per month

Moultonboro Blogger said...

to anon ( not posted)- you are wrong. You have twisted what was actually written ( not stated in a meeting) into "we were told it was the last best land in town". Also you freely mention someone's name in your comment, but not your own.

Moultonboro Blogger said...

Please- no links in comments. They will not be posted.
The Lions Club property is not in disrepair or improperly maintained. It is 56 years old, built as a clubhouse with much volunteer labor. It was built per building code of 1969. If updated, it will be updated per building code of 2016.
Lastly, as this is a lease negotiation, it is a matter that is non public per RSA 91-A:3 (d).

Anonymous said...

Municipal property is managed by the governing body unless management has been expressly delegated by statute to other officials, such as library trustees, conservation commissions, or recreation commissions. In towns, this power is exercised by the selectmen acting pursuant to RSA 41:11-a. Property may be rented when not needed for public use, although if the term of the agreement is for more than one year, a vote of the town is necessary to ratify the agreement

Anonymous said...

At the risk of wasting my time in doing this comment and not getting the blogger's approval to publish, I'll try anyway. There are some things you left out and misinformed but you may not have been in town when this deal was crafted.
*The appraisal was supplied by the LC and the town never had an appraisal of their own.
*The phrase being put out there as "talking points" at the time was "it is the last best property in the village area" (not described as last best "land in town") I know; I worked for one of the strongest voices in favor of it and one of the architects of the purchase at the time of the deal. This person used that phrase a lot in the lead up to the town meeting.
*You also left out that the LC pays $0 for rent but is allowed to sub-lease and reap the monitory benefit of sub-leasing. Subleasing for income would be one thing if they were paying even a minimal rent. another thing with 0 rent.
*The lease is NNN but with no rent. So don't make the obligation that they maintain the property sound like a effort they are not required to do. That property would lease for $8-10 per square foot NNN under a typical lease in the private sector.
*If the LC had sold it to another non-government entity it WOULD be ion the tax roll. It never went on the open market.
*The failed septic was never mentioned but would have been exposed if the town had had a building/septic inspection.
And finally to the anon who is happy to help with their tax dollars... we have as a town essentially subsidized the LC with the nearly half a million $$ with the purchase. But add the costs of outside main., loss of rent, $0 from the subleasing and taxes raised if the property had been sold into the private sector that 1/2 million is nearly doubled over the ten years.
It is just a matter of how you see this deal being done in the dark at that time. Then presented to the town voters with less light than they could have/should have put on the subject.





Moultonboro Blogger said...

Anon- I did not misinform and I was in town. There is nothing in my post that is inaccurate. Your issue it seems is that you don't support the good work that the Lions Club performs and would not occur if they were not in existence.

Anonymous said...

I DO support the work that many philanthropic organizations do. In fact I give to several, but I do it voluntarily. I don't get warm and fuzzy about tax dollars subsidizing over half a million dollars to one organization without and annual vote of support for it. We have bought into an on going rent free subsidy for the LC that makes the "hearts and flowers" support we tend to every TM look like drop in the ocean.
By leaving out some for the facts I feel you have in fact misled your readers. The "I don't believe the voters were ever told... " comment was misleading at least, misinforming at worst.
On another note; when are the town's tapes of the TM going to be released? I thought that was a function of an open and transparent government.

Moultonboro Blogger said...

I stand by my post and the information presented. You may support some charitable organizations, but you clearly don't support the Lions Club. As you should have been aware, Town Meeting was not live streamed. Openness and transparency? That's a joke. You know who I am, but I don't know who you are.