JAY — Selectpersons voted unanimously Monday to keep the rate of interest on delinquent taxes at 7 percent.

The state raised the maximum interest rate that could be charged to 8 percent this year. It had been 7 percent since 2010.

Jay has kept the rate at 7 percent for several years, Town Manager Shiloh LaFreniere said. 

The rate applies to taxes that become delinquent during a particular taxable year until those taxes are paid in full, according to Maine Office of the Treasurer information provided by LaFreniere.

Residents vote on the rate annually at the town meeting.

LaFreniere informed the board the town foreclosed on seven properties on Jan. 29. Two have been paid in full and another owner is expected to pay in full. 

The town gives 30 days from the foreclosure for property owners to pay in full the taxes or sewer fees, or both, that are owed to redeem the properties.

Town Office Manager Ronda Palmer listed the properties and the tax amount owed in a memorandum to the board.

The owners of three other properties on Church and Jewell streets and land on Route 4 do not plan to redeem them, LaFreniere said.  

If the properties are not redeemed within the 30 days and the selectpersons want  to sell them, the lien paperwork is given to a local attorney for review and the properties are put out to bid.

If property owners pay all taxes, including the current year, a quit claim will be issued, LaFreniere said.

Selectpersons adjourned their board meeting and opened a Board of Assessors meeting. They serve in both roles.

Assessors voted to deny a tax abatement to Harry Higgins.

Higgins requested the abatement on land and buildings on East Jay Road that the town assessed at $84,050. Higgins wrote on his abatement application that the property was “overvalued for tax purposes” but gave no supporting evidence for the reason nor listed an amount he wanted abated.

The town’s assessing agent Paul Binette recommended the abatement be denied.

“A successful tax abatement request must demonstrate that the property has been overvalued,” Binette wrote in a letter to Higgins that went before assessors for their approval and signatures.

This needs to be done by providing a recent credible market value and showing that the relationship between the just value of the property and its assessment differs from the average relationship between the just values of other properties, according to Binette.

“You can also gain a tax abatement if you show that your property was not assessed in the same manner as similar properties,” Binette wrote.

If Higgins is not satisfied with the assessors decision, he has 60 days to appeal the decision to the Jay Board of Assessment Review.

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