The Dresden Board of Selectmen discussed and approved a newly drafted policy on the disposition of tax-acquired properties at its regular meeting Monday night.
A new policy will provide guidance on how the town may dispose of properties that were acquired due to taxes owed, which totaled $143,443 as of October 31.
Board members also discussed concerns that some properties may have hazards requiring remediation, such as land with underground fuel tanks.
“We need to be careful about properties we may acquire in the future,” Chairman Phil Johnston said.
The Maine Municipal Association (MMA) drafted the policy, which failed to include the possibility of not selling any acquired property, a clause the town’s legal counsel, attorney Eliot Field advised. The board agreed to add Field’s suggestion of leaving the disposition of individual properties at the discretion of the town, including sale as one of the amendments to the policy.
Another addition to the policy is a stipulation that the town will keep any money from the sale of any properties, including amounts over the amount owed in taxes.
Two of the 20 former Dresden owners of tax-acquired properties last month paid back taxes in full, and the town has heard from four others, one who plans to send the entire payment.
The news came during the board of selectmen’s regular meeting in November at which selectmen discussed the 60-day time limit the town has given delinquent tax payers as an opportunity to recoup on the planned sale of the properties.
Three of the four said they are working on letters of request for agreements to pay a substantial amount of the total they owe before the 60-day deadline the town has set.
So far the town has received a bit more than $5,877 for the taxes owed, but selectmen remained adamant about the 60 days time limit (from the day they sent the letters, Monday, Oct. 21).
Selectmen expressed agreement at their November session that the town has given much leeway to the delinquent taxpayers for taxes that go as far back as 1998 and until this year did not acquire the properties.
The discussion Monday pointed out the exemption military personnel on active duty have from the town’s acquiring their properties.
Ice skating hut
In other business, the board voted to go ahead with a suggestion from Selectman Allan Moeller to build a new ice skating rink hut for skaters on the town’s recycling center property for this winter’s recreation, and to make use of recreation funds for that purpose. Selectmen cited the dilapidated condition of the current hut as the reason for a new one.
The board also approved a $660 quote from Tom’s Painting for the removal and replacement of deteriorating clapboards for the recycling center.
Sunday Christmas concert
The annual Christmas concert with the Downeast Brass performing at St. John’s Church in Dresden Village will be held this Sunday, Dec. 8 at 3 p.m. The board approved a request for up to $800 from the recreation funds for that purpose.
General assistance hearing
The board decided to hold a public hearing for 15 minutes at the beginning of its Monday, Dec. 16 meeting at 6 p.m. at Pownalborough Hall for the purpose of reviewing the MMA’s updated General Assistance ordinance, which includes all the changes made the last few years.
Town office schedule
The board announced the Town Office will be closed on Tuesday, Dec. 24 and Wednesday, Dec. 26 for Christmas.