Straddling the Ayer/Harvard town line is the Shaker Hills Golf Club, totaling some 169 acres. All but five acres are in Harvard.
On Monday, Middlesex Savings Bank notified both the Ayer and Harvard boards of selectmen that it has commenced foreclosure proceedings against the golf course. In a letter dated Jan. 9 and hand-delivered to both selectmen's offices, the bank's lawyers notified the selectmen that a foreclosure auction is set for Thursday, April 12, at 11 a.m. at the golf course.
Each town is owed several thousands of dollars from the golf course in the form of unpaid taxes. Each town also issues liquor licenses to the golf course.
The Ayer Board of Selectmen controls the all-liquor license and a common victueller's for the clubhouse, pub and function hall. The Harvard Board of Selectmen controls the serving of all alcoholic beverages out on the course.
Ayer is owed some $75,000 in unpaid water, sewer and real estate taxes. As such, Ayer Town Administrator Robert Pontbriand confirmed on Tuesday that his office has not released the club's 2012 licenses.
"The Shaker Hills Licenses (All Alcohol and Common Victueller) are still in the selectmen's safe and have not been released," said Pontbriand.
Meanwhile in Harvard, where the sum owed in unpaid real estate taxes is closer to the $20,000 mark, Harvard selectmen are not releasing the club's renewed 2012 liquor license until the property taxes are current, confirmed Harvard Town Administrator Timothy Bragan.
Shaker Hills Golf Club is the record owner of the one parcel of land that lies in Ayer -- 5.33 acres of land on which are located the clubhouse and facilities. The land is assessed at $321,000 while the clubhouse and other structures are valued at $1.53 million dollars for a total of $1.85 million in assessed Ayer property.
In Harvard, title to three properties rests in the name of Woodland Company at 146 Shaker Road in Harvard. There's an 8.91-acre parcel valued at $95,100; a 39-acre parcel assessed at $283,300; and a 115.48-acre parcel assessed at $813,300. All three parcels are vacant and have no taxable structures upon them. Combined together, there are 163.41-acres of land in Harvard for a combined total valuation of $1.19 million dollars.
All three Harvard land parcels are in arrears on the payment o f property taxes. Harvard Treasurer/Collector Debbie Nutter said on Tuesday that the total owed to Harvard is approaching the $20,000 mark.
gFor fiscal 2011 real estate taxes owed Harvard totals $12,337.36. For the first two quarters of fiscal 2012, Shaker Hills owes Harvard a total of $7,518.61 in property taxes. All figures are through Tuesday, Jan. 10. Per diem interest continues to accrue on the outstanding total balance of $19,855.97.
Before the New Year, the Ayer selectmen struggled with whether or not to renew the all-liquor license the golf club holds. The golf club had reached a 30-month repayment plan with Ayer Tax Collector John Canney. The selectmen filed for the renewal of the license with the state Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission by the Nov. 30 deadline for renewals but held off on the release of the club's 2012 licenses, which would take effect Jan. 1.
At the board's Dec. 20 meeting, the Ayer selectmen voted (3-1) that it would not release any 2012 annual license renewals unless real and personal property taxes, water and sewer bills were paid in full by Friday, Dec. 30 at 5 p.m., the final business hours for 2011. In the alternative, selectmen agreed they'd decide what repayment plans were acceptable to them. In the case of another major tax debtor, repayment terms that provided taxes were paid in full in 2012 were required before another liquor license was released.
Shaker Hill's payments on the tax collector's repayment plan required payments on the ninth of each month starting Jan. 9. On Tuesday, Canney's office confirmed that the first $2,500 payment had been made on Jan. 5.
Canney confirmed that as of Jan. 10 Shaker Hills owes the town of Ayer $49,373.26 in real estate taxes for fiscal 2011, and $26,195.48 in real estate taxes for the first two quarters (August 2011 and November 2011) of fiscal 2012.
As of the Nov. 22 Ayer selectmen's meeting, it was reported that the golf course also owed the Ayer DPW $3,300 in unpaid water and sewer bills.
In November, the Ayer selectmen rued the fact that while repayment on the past sums due may be forthcoming, there was no way to ensure that payments accruing over the next 30 months would also be timely made by the golf club. Canney advised the selectmen that he works with distressed taxpayers to enter them into achievable payment plans.
No one for Shaker Hills Golf Club was immediately available on Tuesday. The club's website states that it "closed" Dec. 5, 2011. But the site also provides its golf rates for this coming year.
"See you all in 2012," is the outgoing message on the Pro Shop's answering machine.