Casco can’t tax phantom trailers

By Dawn De Busk

Staff Writer

CASCO — How does a town collect taxes on phantom trailers?

It doesn’t.

The Casco Board of Selectmen voted unanimously to remove from the tax collection list the $200-plus owed in property taxes for two trailers that had been removed from Point Sebago Resort’s land.

On Tuesday, the board was advised of the situation.

“The trailers are not there. The people are not there,” Casco Town Manager Dave Morton said.

“They moved the trailers illegally. We don’t know where they are. We don’t even know if the people who had the trailers still own them,” he said.

After one board member asked about sending the bill to a collection agency, Selectman Paul Edes said, “We are talking about a few hundred dollars.”

Morton explained a debt collection agency is not the route to go.

“The tax follows the trailer, not the previous owners. If Mr. Smith owned the trailer and sells it to Mr. Green, sending the tax bill to Mr. Smith would do no good,” Morton said.

“We try to get people to register them (trailers or mobile homes) and pay excise tax, instead of property tax,” he said.

Selectman Grant Plummer asked about getting assistance from employees at Point Sebago Resort.

Morton answered that the staff at the resort have been very helpful, but cannot always keep track of seasonal or short-term trailers and owners who pay a lease on the property.

“The people might be there for a year or two, and then they are gone,” he said.

“We believe these to be uncollectable, and we are removing them from the books,” Morton said.

In related business, the board considered the best way to sell three tax-acquired parcels. No decision was made during Tuesday’s regular meeting.

According to Morton, one piece of property is located near the corner of Route 11 and Cooks Mills Road. This winter, the town declared the home unsafe and uninhabitable. So, it was demolished. The other two pieces of property are back lots off Watkins Shore Road and Thomas Pond Terrace Road.

Morton said the board could go with a few options for selling the land — offering a quit claim deed to the buyer, or turning the property over to a realtor to sell on the town’s behalf.

Selectman Plummer asked about the value of the latter two properties, which were both near bodies of water.

“Our code enforcement officer should review the boundaries to see if they are buildable. This would give us an idea if they have value or not,” Morton said.

He added that soil samples, which would indicate if the land is suitable for building a structure or drilling a well, would not be done at the town’s expense.

Morton said he would follow up on any questions involving the title for the Cooks Mills Road property, and finding out the setbacks for building homes on the other parcels. He planned to provide that information for the board at its next meeting.

“We want to get on that fairly quickly,” he said.

 

 

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