For a long time, Dresden, like a lot of area towns, has not moved ahead with acquiring local property long overdue on taxes. That practice ended Monday night with a board of selectmen decision.
Selectmen decided to send out a letter they reviewed and edited to those they referred to as “former” property owners, giving them 60 days to pay back taxes before the town puts the properties up for sale on the market.
Attorney Eliot Field drafted a letter for the board and the members changed the wording to their liking in preparation for mailing.
Before making their decision, selectmen reviewed the statute relative to acquiring properties that have a lien on them because of delinquency in tax payments. The town has gone through an 18-month process giving the property owners time to pay back taxes.
Most if not all have failed to do so. In the event of failure to redeem the lien on their property during the 60-day grace period following receipt of the town’s letter, the town intends to sell the properties, selectmen said.
“If they pay the back taxes, then we will not proceed with acquiring the property,” Chairman Phil Johnston said. “When the sale is final on the properties, former owners living there will have to vacate the premises.”
The letter addresses the residents in question with the greeting “Dear Former Property Owner.”
Capital improvement plan
Selectmen discussed the upcoming workshop on Monday, Oct. 28 at 6 p.m. at the Town Office, which will deal with the part of the comprehensive plan concerning a capital improvement plan the town has to draft. There will be no workshop this coming Monday, Oct. 14 due to the Columbus Day holiday.
Currently the town has no capital improvement plan, according to selectmen. The task of the comprehensive plan committee consists of drafting one so committee chairman David Probert plans to attend the workshop for the purpose of discussing the matter with the board.
Johnston said he has been looking at the plan the Town of Freedom has as a possible template for Dresden’s plan. There are a couple of others the Lincoln County planning office has suggested as well, including that of South Thomaston.
“I think we can get a pretty good stab at it,” Johnston said. “… We don’t have one right now, but we really need to have one.”
The board voted to provide Goodall Landscaping of Topsham with its first payment for winter plowing and sanding of town roads contingent on receiving proof of the performance bond from its insurance company this week and favorable inspection of the company’s equipment on Friday.
The town voted October 1 at a special town meeting to raise and appropriate an additional $37,000 this year for each of the two years of the remainder of a three-year contract the previous contractor could not fulfill. The total the town will pay new contractor Goodall Landscaping each year amounts to $176, 600.
The town also approved company owner Ed Goodall’s request for an October 15 start date of monthly installments of payments through April to his company instead of the original November 15 upon furnishing a guarantee from his insurance company for bonding. The board thus approved the first installment of $25,000 Monday.
For a contract for the plowing at municipal facilities, the selectmen Monday awarded the contract again this year for the second season to Josh Watkins in the amount of $7,017. Board members expressed satisfaction for the work done last year and approved Watkins’ request for a $137 raise included in the total.
In other road related action, the board opened three sealed bids for sand with the low bidder, Kevin Peckham, who bid $10.86 per cubic yard. Goodall Landscaping bid $11, and Veles of Portland bid $11 also.
Selectman Allan Moeller reported on progress of roadwork on Bog Road. He said most of the preliminary work is done.
Moeller considers the road ready for a base coat of paving near the end of the road at the Blinn Hill Road entrance by the end of this month.
Roadwork over the past couple of weeks included also cleaning out culverts on Blinn Hill and the bottom of Call’s Hill where beavers had built a dam.
The town office will be closed next Monday, Oct. 14, in observance of Columbus Day. Selectmen will hold no workshop.