WEST PARIS — Town officials are mulling payment plans to resell tax-acquired homes to their former owners.

The town foreclosed on three homes over the winter and their former owners continue to reside in them. Town Manager John White said it would be ideal to sell the homes back to their owners rather than force an eviction.

The total amount in back taxes owed to the town is unknown, White said. One of the former owners had already contacted the town about structuring a payment plan.

Most of the former owners have not paid taxes in over two years, he said.

“It’s a concern. We need to collect taxes; we’re instructed by the voters to do so,” White said. 

White did not know whether individuals or families occupied the homes, or the age of the occupants. If a payment plan can’t be reached, the town may sell the properties and allow the new owners to find a solution.

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“I have never run across a situation where people are in there,” he said. “We don’t want to evict people, we want them to remain in there but solve their tax liability.” 

Graydon Chamberlain of Chamberlain Road is looking to purchase back his home. He lives with his wife and daughter, and works seasonally for a construction company. He said he worries where he will find work when his job ends in November.

Chamberlain estimated he owes about $4,000 in back taxes to the town, and is working on a payment plan to repurchase the house. According to 2013 tax commitments, assessors valued the property and home at $71,000.

Chamberlain said he fell behind on payments a few years ago when he was laid off from his full-time job and has struggled to retain full-time employment since.

“It’s the times. Twenty years ago, you wouldn’t have had a problem,” Chamberlain said.

He said he wants to pay off the debt, and said town officials have been “pretty good people to work with.”

Once a tax lien has been placed, owners can make partial payments. However, at foreclosure a payment agreement has to be struck with selectmen approval, or else the amount has to be paid in full, White said.  

“Having not faced this situation many times, most people just want to move on,” he said.

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