WATERVILLE — The doors of the old building are wide open, its windows are broken, and trash is strewn around inside.
Two old cars, a plastic green table and a tattered office chair sit under the trees on the banks of scenic Messalonskee Stream.
Around the side of the single-family home, which was never completed, dozens of plastic jugs and a shower stall lay in a pile with other debris.
The property at 12 Glidden St., off Cool Street, is just one of several the city has foreclosed on this year for nonpayment of taxes. City councilors on Tuesday took the first of three needed votes to authorize City Manager Michael Roy to use money from the city’s undesignated fund balance to raze the buildings and sell the lots.
Another single-family house at 11 Clark St. in the city’s South End will be torn down, as it is beyond rehabilitation, and the land will be offered to Waterville Area Habitat for Humanity, which wants to build a house there. Habitat helps families with low incomes buy decent, affordable homes.
Holly Towle of the local Habitat organization told councilors Tuesday that Habitat is interested in building a house on the lot.
“The next time we’d break ground is early in 2015,” she said.
Other foreclosed properties include a single-family house at 38 Carey Lane off Water Street in the South End and a small, airport-related building at 70 Airport Road, both of which would be demolished, according to city officials.
Vacant lots at 25 Oak St., 17-19 Begin St., and another lot off College Avenue, also will be sold if the council issues its final approval.
The unpaid tax bills on the Oak Street lot total $12,177; Carey Lane, $2,567; Glidden Street, $3,684; and Clark Street, $1,545.
The city has owned and held on to the Airport Road, College Avenue and Begin Street properties for many years “without any good reason” and finally decided to sell them, Roy said.
A fire in 2011 heavily damaged a house on the Oak Street lot. The city ended up demolishing that house and cleaning up the lot at a cost of between $11,000 and $12,000, Roy said Friday.
A city ordinance stipulates that vacant lots be offered for sale to abutters first.
Roy said the Airport Road, Carey Lane and Glidden Street properties are in terrible shape.
“Glidden Street may be the worst,” he told councilors. “It’s quite a mess. We’ve got quite a cleanup there.”
Demolishing a structure can cost between $8,000 and $12,000, according to Roy.
At Tuesday’s council meeting, Councilor Karen Rancourt-Thomas, D-Ward 7, said a building on Gold Street is in horrible shape.
“Somebody’s going to set that thing on fire,” she said. “That is an accident waiting to happen.”
The 26 Gold St. apartment building on a lot just south of Summer Street was vacant Friday. The doors were wide open and windows were broken with glass falling out. Garbage and furniture littered the property.
The building lies adjacent to the former South End Arena lot, where years ago neighborhood residents ice skated in winter.
Roy said Code Enforcement Officer Garth Collins has condemned the building, but the city had a tough time locating an owner, as one mortgage company kept selling it to another entity. It has changed hands six times recently, according to Roy, who said he believes the taxes are up-to-date on the property.
“It’s been one of the issues — tracking down the owner,” he said. “Each time we figure out who the owner is, they say, âWe just sold that last week to so-and-so.'”
He said Collins has identified the latest owner. Collins was out of his office Friday, but Roy said the building is not salvageable.
“It needs to come down,” he said.