Delinquent taxpayers allowed opportunity to get Phillips properties back

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PHILLIPS — Town officials agreed Tuesday to give two people one more chance to buy back their foreclosed properties.

Selectmen advised one property owner, who posted his foreclosed home on the Craigslist.org website, that Town Manager Elaine Hubbard should not have to take phone calls from potential buyers who saw the listing.

“You shouldn’t try to sell something you don’t own,” board Chairman Lincoln Haines said.

Former property owners are the only people allowed to make financial arrangements with the town.

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“It is a tax-acquired property,” Hubbard said. “We can not work with (potential buyers).”

Selectmen agreed to allow the property owner 30 days to pay all back taxes and one year in advance, as well as any costs incurred by the town, to repurchase the house and receive a quitclaim deed.

Another property owner’s attorney requested approval of arrangements to pay all debts to the town, and selectmen agreed to the offer.

“I think that’s to the town’s advantage,” Selectman Ray Gaudette said.

Property taxes are due in full each year, and delinquent taxpayers have 18 months to pay them plus accrued interest, after Hubbard files a lien and moves that property to a separate town account.

After the lien is filed at the Franklin County Registry of Deeds and the property owner has not paid the debt, the town takes possession of property. The municipality legally owns it and can sell it, Hubbard explained at Tuesday night’s selectmen meeting.

The former property owner may request to repurchase the property but should not try to sell it, Hubbard said.

In other news, selectmen continued their review of the town’s emergency management plan. They determined that any updated evacuation plan or warning system should be shared as efficiently as possible with the community and with any municipalities who share services. For example, although the town may have the use of an old siren or may decide to purchase a new one, residents would not know what the alarm meant.

“We need to have a definite plan,” Haines said.

Hubbard announced that the Maine Forest Service awarded the Phillips Fire Department a $920grant. The money will be used to purchase two chain saws and 10 five-gallon pails of fire suppressant foam.

She also asked residents to consider serving on the Zoning Board of Appeals, which has three open positions.

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