Casco land sale to recoup unpaid taxes

By Dawn De Busk

Staff Writer

CASCO — Almost one-dozen pieces of property will be offered at prices, starting at 40% of the assessed value of the land.

This month, the Casco Board of Selectmen approved the sale of 11 tax-acquired lots through the closed bid process.

Therefore, those lots will be advertised and interested parties can offer a price to the town. The properties will be sold using the quitclaim deed process.

According to Casco Town Manager Dave Morton, the town staff “will develop a folder on each property.”

The property folders will allow people interested in investing in any of the lots to view maps, assessed valuations and other pertinent information, he said.

Not only will the sales of the lots generate lost tax revenue, but also the foreclosed land sales will serve as a reminder that not paying property taxes in the Town of Casco has consequences.

“Also, it is a great stimulus for people to come in and pay their taxes. It gives people a wake-up call,” Morton said.

One tax-acquired property will be sold via the public auction method, per the selectmen’s unanimous vote. The public auction will happen during the March 15 selectmen meeting.

A resident had requested that the bidding process be an open, instead of closed, bidding process. He said his place of business had burned, and he was interested in buying the property to rebuild his business.

All of the tax-acquired property had gone through an evaluation process. Casco Code Enforcement Officer (CEO) Don Murphy and members of the Open Space Commission (OSC) did site walks on all the parcels that had gone through the tax foreclosure process.

From there, the OSC recommended that the town retain ownership of two lots off Heath Road because of the wetland value.

The board voted in favor of keeping those two lots for a future use yet to be identified.

In a motion that had to be repeated more than four times, the selectmen had agreed to set the minimum bid at 40% of assessed valuation. The minimum bid will be set lower if uninhabitable structures were part of property valuation.

Also, as decided by majority vote, “successful bidders will remove junk or debris from the property within 60 days of purchase date.”

“We don’t want oil tanks lying around,” Selectman Grant Plummer said.

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