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Ossipee selectmen looking to dump ownership of Sumner Brook hatchery


August 24, 2018
OSSIPEE — A month after the decision was made in a work session, selectmen here have announced that they no longer want to be landlords.

At issue is the Sumner Brook Fish Hatchery on Route 16. Through the years, the town's conservation commission has been listed as the owner. The house has been, and is currently, rented to tenants who, in exchange for a much-reduced monthly rent, act as caretakers for the property and operate the fish hatchery.

Several issues surrounding the upkeep and maintenance of the house have come to light in the past year or so, and the town's code enforcement officer came up with a list of needed repairs. Those repairs, including a new roof and vinyl siding, were put out to bid and awarded, but the work was halted.

According to the July 16 selectmen's work session minutes, Selectman Richard Morgan said there are questions about why the town took ownership of the property back in the 1990s. Though no motion is noted in the minutes, he said "it is the consensus of the board to not continue leasing the property" and to offer it back to State of New Hampshire. The current lease expires in March 2019.

Ossipee selectmen hold work sessions on Mondays, with times varying each week. The agenda includes reviewing documents and bills to be paid, holding non-public sessions, meeting with department heads or the finance committee, and other substantial discussions. The July 16 work session included all of these things and lasted about two and a half hours with a break in the middle. Unlike the regular weekly 4:15 p.m. Monday meetings, these sessions are not videotaped and aired by Governmentoversite.com. While many of the discussions from the work sessions carry over into the publicly attended regular meetings, many do not. Citizens interested in the work behind the scenes can, however, read minutes for these sessions on the Town's Web site at www.ossipee.org or in the selectmen's office.

Morgan had said at the Aug. 13 regular meeting that the Sumner Brook renovations were put on hold, then, on Aug. 20, gave some insight as to why when asked by an audience member.

"We want out of the rental business. It is not abundantly clear how the town ended up with it to begin with," said Morgan.

He went on to say the town's attorney has been reviewing the lease and the ownership trail. If the State, who has deeded first refusal, chooses not to take it back, the selectmen want to move forward to selling it as it offers no benefit to the Ossipee taxpayers. Selectmen will be holding another work session on the matter, though Morgan did not indicate when.

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