LIVERMORE FALLS — A local man is upset that the property he had bid $6,500 on was given to a selectman for $1,000 earlier this month.

Paul Boucher said he had spent about 45 minutes in the building with the town’s custodian before he placed the $6,500 bid on the town-foreclosed property. He had bought a house through the foreclosure process in Livermore Falls earlier and fixed it up, he said.

Selectmen voted to accept the low bid on March 4 so the building would be torn down and the taxpayers would not have to pay to have it torn down. The town has had to pay more than $30,000 to take care of dangerous buildings over the past five years.

Selectman Kenny Jacques recused himself from the board on March 4 and sat in the audience when three bids were opened for a house, barn and land at 96 Depot St. The town had foreclosed on the property for $4,472.

Jacques bid $1,000; Boucher bid $6,500, and Karen Grant bid $1,210.

Board Chairman Bill Demaray said at the time that Code Enforcement Officer James Butler Jr. reviewed the property and reported it was an unsafe and dangerous building. The foundation is falling in, the heating system is gone and the back of the building is burned, he said.

The board accepted Jacques’ bid because he told selectmen he planned to tear down the house within 60 days. He would leave the barn, he said.

Before the board voted, there was confusion about whether Boucher lived in the area or was a Paul Boucher who formerly lived in the area. Town officials also believed that Boucher had not looked at the property before placing the bid.

Selectmen have the right to accept or reject any bid.

Boucher said he called Town Manager Kristal Flagg when he learned about the property going to Jacques for $5,500 less than his bid.

His bid, Boucher said, would have paid the back taxes and associated fees and still give the town a little extra money.

He said Flagg told him that it was the selectmen’s decision and there was nothing she could do about it.

Flagg said Thursday that she cannot overturn the board’s decisions.

According to www.realestate.com the house has six rooms and three bedrooms and sits on 0.28 acres.

When he looked at the house, Boucher said, the downstairs had almost all new Sheetrock and there were three stacks of new flooring material. He also said there was a four-person hot tub.

“I was actually looking forward to fixing it up,” he said.

His telephone number was on the bid and he lived only a couple of streets away, he said. He also works in town. If selectmen had called him and wanted to know his plans for the property, he said, he could have been there in a few minutes.

He is looking at different legal measures to see if there is anything that can be done for him, he said.

“I can’t answer for the board, but they have looked at some of the past properties that were up for bid and most are just doing minimal (upgrades) so they can either resell the property or rent,” Flagg said.

“Some of the places are questionable on whether or not they are considered a dangerous building, but through the bid process the board hopes the new owners will fix them the way they should, but most are not,” she said. “We get calls from neighbors on the condition of the property before and after new owners take over. I think they are tired of people not making these properties up to standards.”

This particular building was considered dangerous, she said.

“From here on out I recommend that the (code enforcement officer) visit these properties before we put them out to bid to see if they are just in need of repairs or if they are structurally not sound and considered a dangerous building,” Flagg said.

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