CANTON — Selectmen signed a deed Thursday to sell the Village Ridge property the town purchased for house lots after a flood in 2003.

The property includes 30 acres off Edmunds Road that was bought following major flooding from the Androscoggin River.

The land was cleared to build new homes to replace those heavily damaged or destroyed in the village area. The town received $5 million from state and federal governments due to the flood. Financing for the project was approved in 2004 and later rescinded three times by voters.

The sale amount and purchaser was not immediately available.

In other business, selectmen voted unanimously to keep the property tax rate for 2020-21 at $17.50 per $1,000 of property valuation. It has been the same or lower for the past seven years, they said.

“We talked about dropping (the tax rate) and (decided to) keep it on a level plane so I think that’s a good idea,” Selectman Scotty Kilbreth said regarding prior discussions with the town’s assessing agent, Paul Binette.

Selectman Don Hutchins said he wanted residents to understand that although taxes were “flat-funded” and held to the same or lower rate the past years, that is not the reason their taxes have risen.

“Their taxes went up because the value of their buildings and property went up, not because the tax rate went up,” he said.

Kilbreth said if residents’ home values increased with the revaluation it was “a really good thing on the retail side. That means they’ve got more equity.”

In another matter, selectmen plan to mail letters to about 16 residents who live at or own properties deemed a “junkyard” by the town leaders.  

“I came up with a list over the past week and a half that their yards need attention pretty bad,” Kilbreth said.

“Some of them have junk in them, some of them have cars,” he said. “There’s also going to be a letter sent out to these people living in remote trailers as well.”

The letters are warnings to clean up the properties or the town will take further action, selectmen said.

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Canton Town Office sign. Town of Canton Facebook page.

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