Board hikes Salmon Point fees

By Gail Geraghty

Staff Writer

Bridgton Selectmen Tuesday voted to hike lease fees for Salmon Point Campground campers by six percent Tuesday, but tabled most other ideas coming out of a recent workshop.

The rate increase follows last year’s 14 percent increase, but still keeps costs below the rates charged on average at private area campgrounds. A lakefront site, of which the campground has 14, will cost $2,780, while the seasonal rate for the 16 non-lakefront sites will be $1,946. The board also agreed to set the rate for the six new back lot sites at the same non-lakefront rate of $1,946 per season.

Selectmen spent well over an hour discussing various proposals to make the Long Lake campground operate in a more professional manner. They did not allow public comment until later in the meeting. Chairman Doug Taft explained that campers and other residents have had numerous opportunities to express their opinions over the past several months, including at a workshop held two weeks ago.

Only three board members participated in the voting on financial matters, however. Both Selectman Paul Hoyt and Bob McHatton did not participate in the vote on site fee increases.

The board decided to keep running the campground as a seasonal campground, rather than to change to a model catering more to overnight and transient campers. They decided to keep the status quo, for now, on the controversial question of whether to allow leaseholders the right to transfer their lease to a family member.

One question they did decide definitively had to do with a washing machine. The board agreed to “look into” buying a second washer and dryer for the campground in order to shorten waiting times for the machines, especially in the mornings.

They agreed to pursue a cost-benefit analysis for dredging the lagoon, agreeing that action will need to be taken at some point in the future to keep the lagoon area from filling in and affecting the profitability of the town-owned enterprise.

Boat and water vehicle fees and visitor fees,will remain the same, the board decided. On the question of whether to install individual electric meters at each site, Campground Manager Ted Sawyer said it would cost well over $100,000 to retrofit the sites.

The board agreed that many of the questions concerning improvements come under the heading of capital improvements, and that more precise cost estimates will be needed before a final decision can be made.


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