Salmon Point policy discussion continues

By Gail Geraghty

Staff Writer

Last week’s paper incorrectly stated that current policy supports inheritance rights of campers at Salmon Point Campground. In fact, the lease agreement states that the “lessee may not assign or sublet its rights hereunder,” and only one person’s name can appear on the lease agreement.

There have been some recent discussions, particularly by Selectman Bob McHatton, favoring a revisiting of that policy to allow inheritance rights. The board is not expected to make a formal ruling regarding inheritance rights until next year.

However, on Tuesday, the board did address several other issues regarding the town-owned campground on Long Lake. And once again, the board voted 3-1 (McHatton) to ask Selectman Paul Hoyt to be recused from the discussion, because he leases a site at the campground.

Earlier, during Selectmen’s Concerns, Bob McHatton asked the board to reconsider keeping Hoyt out of the Salmon Point policy discussions. He said the main purpose of a recusal is to keep everything out in the open, and “It’s certainly well-known that Paul leases a site, and that my sister leases a site.” McHatton has not been asked to step away from the discussions, and was not required to do so Tuesday.

McHatton said Hoyt’s insights into the needs of the campground were valuable and he should not be kept from voting on campground policies. “He has a feel for the issues” and neither he nor Hoyt would be making decisions “to better ourselves.”

Chairman Doug Taft reiterated that the board had deliberated on this issue and received a legal opinion from the Maine Municipal Association that would appear to support having Hoyt step down.

Town Manager Mitch Berkowitz said the MMA ruling made clear that a separate recusal vote needed to be taken each time Salmon Point was discussed. “It’s subject-by-subject,” not a blanket order, he said, with financial subjects being the most likely cases when a recusal is warranted.

At issue on Tuesday was whether the board wanted to buy another washer-dryer set to accompany the one already in use at the campground. Campground Manager Ted Sawyer said he received a quote for coin-operated equipment, with the washer costing $1,703 and the dryer, $1,006.

Berkowitz said the board might want to contact businesses that lease washers and dryers to campgrounds and maintain them, collecting the coins and splitting the revenue 50-50. Sawyer confirmed that there did, indeed, appear to be a need for a second set, as the existing washer and dryer is used throughout the day and sees heavy use in the mornings, with waiting lines.

The board agreed to table a decision until their next meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 24. They also tabled consideration of electric metering of individual campground sites to that date, as Sawyer was unsuccessful in his efforts to obtain a quote.

At Hoyt’s request, the board also agreed to revisit the cost of providing wireless Internet to the campground. Hoyt said WiFi was one of the most requested amenities in a survey done of campground needs.

Hoyt also asked about marketing the campground. He said that currently five sites are empty, six are new and one leaseholder is leaving. It will be necessary for the town to act now to have the campground promoted as a vacation destination in national magazines and other publications such as those put out by the American Camping Association.

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