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MWCD Cottage Site Lessee Webinar

October 23, 2023

At the August 18, 2023 meeting of the Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District (MWCD) Board of Directors, the Board approved a recommendation from MWCD’s Board of Appraisers to conduct a reappraisal of MWCD’s cottage site lots.

MWCD hosted a webinar on October 10, 2023 to provide information and an opportunity to ask questions about the upcoming reappraisal. Click on the icon below to watch a recording of the webinar on YouTube.

Cottage site lessees own their houses and improvements but not their lots. Instead, they hold 30 or 40-year leases on them and make annual rental payments to MWCD. Any adjustments to these rental amounts are governed by the lease agreement, and rates are annually reviewed by staff and the MWCD Board of Appraisers and Board of Directors.

Rent payments are used by MWCD to pay for road maintenance, snow removal, lot upkeep and various other needs and expenses on cottage lots. Rent payments also help cover the property tax payments that MWCD itself must pay to counties on the value of cottage lots. Though a public entity, MWCD must pay property tax on any land from which it earns commercial revenue, such as cottage lots, marinas, stores, restaurants, etc.

The current rate classification system was established in the year 2000 based upon an appraisal conducted in 1998. Since that time, one reappraisal was conducted in 2013. Because of the large gap in time between appraisals, the value of cottage lots on the books may not accurately reflect current values today.

For the new appraisal system, the Board is considering going to a three-year reappraisal schedule like that used by Ohio’s county auditors. Additionally, it is looking at adopting the “ground rent” methodology widely accepted in the real estate appraisal industry for determining land rents. With support from MWCD’s independent appraisal consultant, the goal will be to have all cottage lots reappraised by January 1, 2024. When the January 2024 Consumer Price Index (CPI) is published in February 2024, the Board will use it, as well as an evaluation of MWCD’s cottage lot expenses, to finalize the new system and make the appropriate adjustments to rates in March 2024. The adjustments to the annual rent amounts invoiced to cottage lessees in April 2024 will be a product of this new process.

The purpose of these changes is to continue to adhere to the cottage site lease provisions and also ensure that cottage rent payments are fair to lessees, MWCD, and the public. Rental rates should accurately reflect both lots’ value as well as MWCD’s costs to maintain them. Adopting a methodology that aligns with contemporary best practices for real estate appraisals and rent payment determination will help do that.

If you have any questions about this process, do not hesitate to contact MWCD at lease@mwcd.org or 330-343-6647.

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