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AMC & Carroll reach Highland Center PILOT agreement


June 09, 2010
CARROLL — A long-term agreement has been reached between the Appalachian Mountain Club and the town of Carroll, the selectmen announced at the board's May 24 meeting.

The PILOT — payment in lieu of taxes — agreement replaces an earlier one that was in effect from 2001 to 2007 under which the nonprofit AMC paid the town $10,000 a year on its Highland Center and associated properties.

That PILOT agreement expired, and the town attempted to have a portion of the hostelry and conference center declared taxable, arguing that some of its activities were not related to its educational mission.

Under the terms of a consent decree, AMC will pay the town $22,500 each year, from 2007 through 2016.

In 2016 and every five years thereafter, the PILOT will be recalculated, based on fair market value, according to the consent decree.

The selectmen said that they had negotiated the best deal they could for the town without going to court and running up large legal fees. In addition, they pointed out, the town would have run the risk of losing the case.

Board chairman Chris Hancock said he believed that Judith "Jae" Whitelaw of the Mitchell Municipal Group in Laconia had done an excellent job and called an expert witness who was able to detail the reason that having AMC pay PILOT would be appropriate.

The Appalachian Mountain Club is also happy to have these negotiations behind them.

"AMC is pleased to have reached a settlement with the town of Carroll regarding our voluntary payment in lieu of taxes," said AMC Director of Outdoor Program Center Paul Cunha of Jefferson. "AMC, a charitable non-profit organization, has made payments in lieu of taxes (PILOTs) to compensate the town for services provided on its behalf since it purchased the Crawford Notch property over 30 years ago, and this agreement extends and updates that arrangement to include the AMC Highland Center. We are pleased to have reached this mutual resolution and look forward to continuing to be an involved and supportive member of the community."

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