Archive for December 14th, 2008

by jhwygirl

While I’m not completely cold-hearted and I do sympathize with the situation, someone please explain to me why anyone in Washington – including Rehberg, Tester and Baucus (although the news article doesn’t mention Baucus here) – want to maintain sweetheart real estate deals for cabin lessees on national forest ground?

Now, Georgetown Lake USFS cabin lessees have gained the ear of the Montana Standard, who has apparently taken up their cause.

“I can’t afford to stay there for $8,500 a year,” said Martelli, an Anaconda retiree. “I’m going to try to sell it if I can but I don’t know anybody else that would buy it and pay that kind of lease price.”

Really? With land being bought up faster around that lake than they can build ’em, and he doesn’t think he’d be able to sell that cabin because now one would be able to afford the lease price? An annual lease price that would seem a deal as compared to a mortgage?

What is the benefit? Leaky septic tanks and higher fire danger? Higher fire fighting costs if when fire moves through?

Beyond that those leases – as Martelli alludes to in the article – get passed down from lessee to lessee, often kept in the family forever. They’re not put out there competitively or fairly for the rest of the wanting-a-sweetheart-deal-cabin-site public. Why’s that fair?

I know that sounds harsh – and I’ve talked with several who maintain these cabin sites – but I’ve yet to be able to justify having the federal government facilitate maintenance of a family tradition, a family heirloom – call it what you will.

I’ll even acknowledge that these cabins are for the most part pretty modest – some are shacks, frankly (which doesn’t help my higher fire danger complaint) – and that higher leases will result in the sites being sold over to what will result in higher end cabin lessees.

On the other hand – that additional revenue would end up in the pockets of local government entities via PILT payments.

I’ve blogged about this before, here.

Anyone, please – explain to me why the federal government should be in the business of leasing prime vacation lands at what amounts to effectively subsidized real estate prices?

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