Casco resident eager to write check for land buy

By Dawn De Busk

Staff Writer

CASCO — It is not often someone insists on writing a check for a purchase, and admits that they would have paid the offering price after getting a slightly better deal.

It happened during a live auction of a tax-acquired lot on Tenney Hill Road. The land auction was part of the Casco Board of Selectmen meeting on March 15.

Casco resident Wayne Small lives at 39 Tenney Hill Road and is an abutter to the lot, which the Town of Casco acquired through a tax lien in 2010.

The town manager and board members were unable to locate the amount of back taxes owed on the property. Typically the back taxes are added to the minimum bid price so that the town can recoup its losses.

The baseline bid price was set at 40% of the assessed value of the lot, or $12,400. The reason the price is so low is that the quit-claim deed process is used during the land sale.

Taking on the role of auctioneer, Selectman Grant Plummer asked Small to explain why he would offer less than the baseline price.

“It is not worth the value. It has no well. I’ll give you $12,400. But can I go lower?” Small asked.

He offered $11,000.

Plummer responded in a positive manner.

“That is a fair price for the (amount of) debris left on the property,” he said.

According to Casco Town Manager Dave Morton, the property on Tenney Hill Road “has no structures but some junk that has collected over the years.”

“The junk and debris needs to be removed within a 60-day period. I would say 30 days but right now the road is posted,” Morton said.

Small said the cleanup was not a problem, and he had access to the right equipment for such a task.

“I have dumpsters and front-end loaders,” he said.

“The previous owners had old junked car parts. I want to clear the land. I want to put a doublewide (mobile home) for me to live in,” said Small, who owns a shop and recently lost his garage to a fire.

In a request to lower the bid price, Small said he will have to invest in the property by having the soil tested for contaminants, putting in a well, and having the land surveyed by a professional.

He was eager to wrap up the land deal that night.

“I can write a check right now. I have my check book,” Small told the selectmen.

Earlier during the meeting, Morton gave details about the lot and the parameters of the sale of the tax-acquired land.

“Rather than make a payment this evening, we will give them five to six business days” to pay for property, Morton said.

“I’ll come into the office tomorrow and write a check,” Small said after the sale was finalized by a unanimous board vote.

To view other tax-acquired lots for sale via the sealed bid process, go to the Town of Casco website. The deadline for submitting a sealed bid is noon on March 29.

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