FARMINGTON — Options for retrieving money owed in back taxes to the town were the main topic of discussion at Tuesday’s Board of Selectmen meeting.

The board addressed delinquent taxes owed on dozens of properties on the town’s foreclosure list, as well as personal property taxes owed by seven businesses.

“The town is trying to collect a debt that is owed to us,” Town Manager Richard Davis said.

Town Treasurer Diana Young presented the board with a list of 43 properties whose owners owed the town money in back taxes. In total, Young said, the town is owed $146,872.10 in back property taxes, including interest. She noted that some of the property on the list had been foreclosed on already, but that some was not because of payment plans set up between the property owners and the town.

Given the inconsistency of some payments and the amount of time particular property owners have owed the town money, Young asked the board for suggestions about what the foreclosure procedure should be in connection with those properties.

“I don’t think that anyone at this table wants to start taking property away from people,” Chairman Joshua Bell said, “but some of these (properties) are 12 years behind.”

In the past, the town has been understanding with people who were in dire financial straits and were having trouble paying the money owed, officials said. After receiving foreclosure warnings, if the owners made an effort to establish a payment plan with the town, they were given a chance to remain on the property.

The board moved to issue letters to the owners of 23 properties on the list who have in some way been in contact with the town about payments in a timely manner, alerting them that their properties are on the foreclosure list and that they should try to continue making payments to prevent the town from seizing their property and asking them to vacate the premises. The owners of the remaining 20 properties, who have owed money for longer periods of time with little attempt to make payments, will be issued a letter alerting them that their properties are now the property of the town and they will be required to vacate them.

The decision was based on “a combination of number of years in arrears but also the amount of contact and payments they have made,” Vice Chairman Stephen Bunker said.

The board also approved a motion that the tax collector, through the town attorney, will proceed to small claims court to collect personal property taxes owed by seven businesses.

Bunker said he was “reluctant, but this is a necessary process that the town has to follow.”

Through this action, the town seeks to acquire money owed from Farmington Towing, Greenlaw Collectibles and Pawn, Hair Razor, Loose Ends Hair Salon, Reboot Computers, Roost Pub & Wingery and RS Electric.

Other business discussed at the meeting included the acceptance of a $1,000 donation to the Farmington Department of Parks and Recreation made by the Napoli Group, which owns the newly renovated McDonald’s restaurant across from Hippach Field.

In a letter addressed to the board, Parks and Recreation Director Matthew Foster said he planned to use the donation to restore the beach volleyball court at Hippach Field.

“We have been slowly working on restoring the beach volleyball court over the last month because there has been so much public interest in it. The things the money would be specifically used for are repairing the lights, replacing the poles, nets and boundary lines,” Foster said.

At the meeting, Davis also updated the board on the town’s search for a new public works director. Town officials have conducted seven interviews for the position and are now in the final round of second interviews.

“We had three good candidates, and we’re down to two,” Davis said.

Before the meeting adjourned, Selectman Michael Fogg brought up a concern he had heard at a meeting of the local American Legion post about the condition of military grave markers at the cemetery on Red School House Road. Since the markers are owned by the town and have historical significance, Fogg suggested that they be removed from the cemetery and presented to the Farmington Historical Society, which can preserve them and make them available for the public to see them. Fogg said the Legion offered to replace the metal markers with more weather-durable plastic ones that would be adorned with flags on Memorial Day.

The board was supportive of that idea, and Davis said he would retrieve the grave markers and keep them at the Municipal Building until a formal presentation of the markers to the historical society was arranged.

“This way we’ll always have that history. They’re pretty neat,” Selectman Matthew Smith said.

Lauren Abbate — 861-9252

[email protected]

Twitter: @Lauren_M_Abbate


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