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September 27, 2013

Letter: Town's options make all leases short-term

To the editor:

This is an open letter to the Rockport Board of Selectmen.

As a former chairman of both the Board of Selectmen and the Finance Committee, it has been my honor to have served the Town of Rockport for 13 years. In recent days, both Jonathan Weaver and Peter Beacham have lauded your efforts to come to grips with the complex issues and decisions surrounding Long Beach.

You have identified two distinct phases to this effort. Phase I is to put forth to the land renters a short term new lease. Phase II is to gather, analyze and resolve all the many issue going forward having to do with what should happen in the long term.

The board has the sole authority to deal with Phase I per our by-laws. Phase II is another matter, as the final decision rests with the “inhabitants” or voters of Rockport. There will be much data from many sources to evaluate.

I agree with Selectwoman Wilkinson’s remark last Saturday when, to paraphrase, she said that past practice has worked fine for the past 110 years — except she did not state what that practice was. If you look at what has transpired over the past 20 years you get a picture of recent past practice.

As of Jan. 1, 1994, leases were executed with a term of five years; rents of $400.

As of Oct. 30, 1995, an addendum was executed to extend the term to 10 years (i.e. to Dec. 31, 2003), under two years into the five-year lease.

As of March 5, 2002, an addendum was executed to increase the annual rent to $1,500 for front row lots and $900 for back row lots, just over eight years into the modified 10-year lease.

As of Jan. 1, 2004, new leases were executed with a term of 10 years and annual rents were increased to $2,100 for front row lots and $1,300 for back row lots plus an escalator factor equal to the increase in the CPI index. Currently, rents are $2,500 and $1,500 respectively.

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