Martha's Vineyard Land Bank reports on year of growth
The Martha's Vineyard Land Bank added 82.2 acres worth $8.237 million to its conservation portfolio in 2007. The public conservation agency, supported by a two percent surcharge on certain Vineyard real estate transactions, now owns or controls 2,856 acres or 4.7 percent of the Island.
Plans are afoot to add to the Land Bank's holdings. The agency is now negotiating to purchase various properties whose total acquisition cost is $50 million. Accumulated surplus revenues in the Land Bank coffers as of Dec. 31, 2007 totaled $19.3 million.
The most expensive 2007 acquisition was the five-acre Norton Fields Preserve in Edgartown, which the Land Bank bought from Phyllis Bartol and others for $2.75 million. The largest was the 43.6-acre Square Field in West Tisbury, bought from Harriet Hickie and others for $2.05 million. Altogether, the Land Bank bought or received the fee or other interest in eight properties during the year just ended.
During fiscal 2007 (July 1, 2006-June 30, 2007), Land Bank revenues totaled $12.154 million. The Chappaquiddick Open Space Committee contributed a $25,000 gift. Just $9.5 million had been budgeted for revenue during fiscal 2007. For the current fiscal year, the Land Bank expects $9.593 million in revenue.
During fiscal 2007, surplus revenues added up to $5.982 million. Another $2.593 million is projected to be added in the current fiscal year. On a calendar year basis, 2007 yielded $10.9 million in transfer fee revenue, 6.6 percent less than in calendar 2006. Half of that sum goes to the central fund. Half is apportioned among the town funds. The towns contributed to the total as follows: Edgartown, $2.356 million, 21.6 percent; Chilmark, $1.021 million, or 9.4 percent; then Tisbury, 7.4 percent; Oak Bluffs 5.5 percent; West Tisbury, 4.2 percent; and Aquinnah, 1.9 percent. The central fund's share was $5.457 million. Most Land Bank purchases are made with contributions from the town in which the property is located and from the central fund.
For the current fiscal year, debt service totaling $5.61 million, or 59 percent, will consume the largest share of budgeted expenses. Administrative expenses will require $428,000, or 4.5 percent, and land management expenses will be $694,000, or 7.2 percent. There is a $30,000 reserve included in the budget.
Among the land acquisition highlights in the 2007 report, written by James Lengyel, executive director of the Land Bank, two new beaches were opened to the public and the agency completed the approval process for the Manaquayak Preserve (Ice House Pond, also known as Old House Pond), which will be opened to the public this spring.