GARDINER — Officials in Gardiner have accepted bids on three tax-acquired properties the city had listed for sale, returning them to the municipal tax rolls.

At Wednesday’s meeting of the City Council, councilors voted unanimously to accept bids and to issue municipal quitclaim deeds for 25 Mount Vernon St., 36 Oak St., and 596 Water St.

The three are among 16 tax-acquired properties for which city officials have been working to find resolutions.

The city had foreclosed on some of the properties earlier this year for delinquent taxes or sewer fees. Several are vacant parcels. Others had been put out to bid but had received no offers. One was subject to an Internal Revenue Service tax lien.

The City Council accepted bids of $121,000 from Xiao Jun Qiu for 25 Mount Vernon St., $35,000 from Eco Property Management for 36 Oak St. and $115,000 from Elizabeth Rubackin for 596 Water St.

The city contracted with the Gilbert Group Real Estate & Property Management of Augusta to sell the three properties.

The properties at 25 Mount Vernon St. and 596 Water St. had been occupied.

In many cases, cities and towns sell foreclosed properties to recoup what they are owed in unpaid property taxes, sewer fees or others costs incurred in the sale of the property.

In 2018, the Maine Legislature passed a law, inspired by a case in Albion, requiring municipalities that had foreclosed on properties formerly owned by people older than 65 who meet income requirements sell those properties at fair market value. Once the municipality’s costs have been recovered, the remaining funds are turned over to the former property owners.

In the case of the Mount Vernon Street and Water Street properties, city officials opted to follow that route.

Mayor Patricia Hart said while the Water Street property was occupied by someone who did not meet that age requirement, but the City Council had agreed to sell the property for as much as possible.

The Water Street property had been owned by Penny Sergent, a former city councilor who had failed to pay property taxes and sewer fees, resulting in the foreclosure. Her seat on the council was declared vacant earlier this year when she vacated the home and moved to another community.

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