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Comments on FARM Park Land Transfer Received at Public Hearing


By:  David Deschesne

Fort Fairfield Journal, February 14, 2018


   A public hearing was held at noon on Wednesday, February 7 to discuss the transfer of the land known as FARM Park to Stev Rogeski, and a lease of town-owned property on Cheney Grove to the Fort Frontier ATV Club. 

   There were five people in attendance at the hearing.  No comment was received regarding the lease of town property to the ATV Club.  However, Gary Sirois registered some comments on the land sale of FARM Park to Stev Rogeski.  “First of all let me state that I'm pleased the town of Fort Fairfield will divest itself of FARM Park,” said Sirois.  “I think it's been a liability and expense for the town to maintain that property.  I'm happy to see that be gone.”

   Sirois then outlined some of the issues he could see with the land sale.  “The price that was quoted to me has not allowed for any value for the pole barn or the additions to the pole barn.  Nor has it added any value to the electrical poles and hookups that are out there.  I discussed this prior to today with the assessor, Tony Levesque he says that it just wasn't done [because] it was a town-owned property and he didn't see it reasonable to and didn't want to waste any time by assessing the additions to the pole barn, or the poles, or the hookups.”

   FARM Park currently has a primary pole barn pavilion of approximately 70' x 100' with two 20' wing additions on either side making it a total of approximately 110'x100'.  It also features its own well and septic system, a functioning men's and women's restroom with indoor plumbing and a fully functional RV park/campground that is used during summer music concerts, there.  It is the town's intent to sell the land to Rogeski for the assessed value of the land only, minus approximately $34,000 the town still owes Rogeski for the construction of the side wings.  As an aside, it is the inferior design of the pole barn and side wings that caused the structure to shift off its support poles and render the whole pavilion section unsafe that prompted the town to decide to get out of the FARM Park business to begin with since it would cost more to properly repair than could hope to be realized in rentals of the facility in the near future.

   “I feel pretty strongly that the amount owed to the Rogeskis for the addition that - I call them wings, the expansion - should be deducted,” said Sirois.   “They put up those additions with the approval of the council, I understand, but primarily for their own benefit.  I was told that the town still owes the Rogeskis somewhere around $34,000 for those additions.  If we're going to give them back the property I don't think we should pay them the $34,000.  I think it ought to be included in the sale at full value.

   The header beams on those wings are currently shifting off the poles and are about to cave in due to improper bracing and attachment.  Last November, the town cordoned off the entire pavilion as off-limits due to immediate safety concerns. 

   Sirois took issue with the formula the town used to come up with a sale price.  “I don't think the town of Fort Fairfield's getting its fair share of value out of this property, by transferring it for the present assessed value minus the value of the pole barn,” said Sirois.  “My rough numbers would mean that if it's assessed for $51,000 after the deduction and the town owes Rogeski $34,000 then it's a $17,000 transfer.  I don't think that's a reasonable amount.  If the town goes ahead and transfers this property for the amount stated that I understand is pretty firm, somehow the town has to advise the manager to have that property reassessed for tax purposes within a reasonable period of time.  That way, the town would enjoy the benefit of taxation and I think that's only fair to all of us we just want to be fair about it.”

   At their February 21, 2018 town council meeting, the Fort Fairfield town council voted unanimously to sell FARM Park to Stev and Nancy Rogeski for the terms described above.