A debate between campground owners in Lochmere, N.H., and the community’s board of selectmen heated up Oct. 20 as the two sides argued whether campground patrons were being unfairly taxed.
Owners Ronald and Pamela Jaynes of Silver Lake Park Campground argued that their customers are being unfairly taxed because their rates are going up and not down while their trailers age and depreciate in value, according to the Laconia Citizen, Laconia, N.H.
“The town made statements and we believed those statements,” Pamela Jaynes said. “Our business should be given more respect than this.”
The Silver Lake Park Campground is a seasonal campground that is open from mid-May through Columbus Day and has been in business since 1967. Jaynes was joined by some of her customers, but many of them were not present because they use the campground seasonally. Out of the 140 customers, 63 of them are against the taxes assessed on their property.
The base rate for taxing property in Belmont is $45 per square foot, with an exception to decks at $12 and sheds at $10.
Jaynes commented on how these trailers are old and should in fact lose value instead of gaining value.
In December 2007, Town Administrator Jeanne Beaudin spoke with Jaynes discussing future taxing and assessment of the campground. Beaudin asked for a list of names and addresses of those people in the campground so she could mail out a letter about the laws.
Jaynes complied with Beaudin but said she was unclear about the process of how the town was going to proceed in the tax assessment and had asked for Beaudin to respond, which Beaudin claims she did.
The group of people who have their travel trailers at the Silver Lake Campground all signed a petition asking the town to revoke the 2008 tax assessment of the campground.
At one point in the meeting Jaynes said a lawsuit might be filed if the matter remained unresolved, but she then apologized for the remark after board Chairman Ronald Cormier threatened to cut off the discussion.
“The selectmen will come to a decision when Selectman (Jon) Pike comes back,” Cormier said. “We will discuss the situation when the board is full and can decide on this situation.”
The next board of selectmen meeting will be in November in Belmont.