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Tarr Land Trust Deal Stipulates Forgiveness of Back Taxes

September 12th

tarr land trustThe town of Bedford, New Hampshire and the Florence M. Tarr Wildlife Sanctuary Trust have been embroiled in years of tough negotiations. However, now, after two years of contention and litigation, they have reached an agreement that permanently maintains 252 acres of land for conservation, mostly belonging to Bedford.

Requirements for the Creation of the Bedford Land Trust

Namely, the agreement, which was reached in August, stipulates that the town must forgive any back taxes owed by the Trust. This includes waiving any tax penalties, fees, or interest that the Trust might owe on their unpaid taxes. The town of Bedford is also forbidden from levying any further taxes on the transfer of property from the town to the Trust, or from this Trust to the new Bedford Land Trust.

The town of Bedford has also agreed to contribute $30,000 to the creation of the Land Trust. This will complement the $20,000 being paid by the corporate surety entrusted with the Trustees’ fiduciary bond. This money will be specifically directed to engineering the transfer of land to the Bedford Land Trust.

Lastly, both sides agreed that the Bedford Land Trust could be substituted by an equivalent land trust at a later date. This substitution would occur only at the discretion of the Probate Court.

Concerned Parties Worry over Cost

While in many ways this agreement was beneficial to both parties, it also raised some concerns over the cost of this venture. Besides the tens of thousands of dollars spent by the town in legal fees, they will also be contributing over half of the funds necessary for the creation of the Land Trust.

The town of Bedford will also be denied significant tax revenue that could have helped defray the cost. According to the former Town Council Chairman, Mike Izbicki, the trustees of the Florence M. Tarr Wildlife Sanctuary Trust were originally willing to cover the back taxes and penalties on the land. However, when the land was taken out of current use, the tax rate and penalties increased. At that point, the executive board of the Trust filed suit in an effort to avoid payment.

 
 
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