Norway sells tax-acquired property, puts others out to bid

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NORWAY — The town knocked two tax-acquired properties from its rolls, and with it collected $11,730 Thursday night.

David Holt, the town manager, said that he intends to recommend selectmen dispose of more property by bid until the 22-property list gets smaller.

“It is unpleasant to sell someone’s property, so we will start with the easier ones,” Holt said by email earlier in the day. “(Those that are) not lived in (or have been) abandoned. The best result is successful payment arrangements.”

The properties, whose bids were unanimously approved by selectmen Thursday, include around .09 acres on Hobbs Pond, for which the town was owed about $204 in principal back taxes from 2009 to 2014. Selectmen approved the sale to Margaret and Andrew Innes for $6,130. In their bid, the Inneses wrote that the parcel would be absorbed into the land they already own, which surrounds it.

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“Since a right of way to the parcel would no longer be necessary, we would waive the parcel’s right of way, which crosses (the lot) belonging to our neighbors,” the bid read.

About 5.2 acres on Moose Hill Drive went to Merton Hodgkin Jr. for $5,600. The previous owner of the Moose Hill lot owed a principal of around $2,752 from nonpayment of taxes from 2009 to 2014. That jumped to $3,769 with fees and interest.

Holt said that both pieces of land are believed to be unbuildable and thus received only one bid each. He urged selectmen to approve both bids, and they did.

Holt suggested that a small house at 34 Dean Ave. and trailer on 0.46 acres at 293 Crockett Ridge Road also be put out to bid.

Holt and Selectman Warren Sessions said that several times they met with the Dean Avenue owner, who owed a principal of about $2,731 and now a total of about $4,992, but that the payment schedule has not been met.

“I lost faith that (he) will be able to make the arranged payments,” Holt said, adding that the Crockett Ridge Road owner, who owed about $486 in principal back taxes and $722 with taxes and fees, hasn’t been located. “We’re not positive, but we think George (Bouchard) may have passed away.”

Selectmen unanimously agreed to put both properties out to bid.

Of about 3,000 properties in Norway, the town has 22 tax-acquired properties in its possession. The principal amount owed on individual properties range from about $118 for 2000 to 2003 unpaid taxes on a Cottage Street property to nearly $6,347 on unpaid taxes from 2007 to 2015 on 30 Dean Ave.

If property taxes have not been paid, the town’s 2011 policy first allows the former owner to reacquire the property through an interest-free payment plan before they go to lien; a documented heir can redeem the property in the same way as a former owner or the property may be retained for public use if it has an aesthetic, recreational or economic benefit to the town or may be sold by public bid.

Properties that go to bid must be advertised for at least two weeks in the Advertiser Democrat and on the town’s website. However, the former owner still has a chance to bid on the property, since a certified notification will be sent to him or her.

Furthermore, the policy states that the selectboard is not required to accept the highest bid “but may consider other bids in the best interest of the town.”

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