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.