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Town Targets Tax Titles Hoping To Sell Delinquencies

2015-02-04 09:12:57
Submitted by: Jeffrey Musser

2/4/2015 6:34:00 AM
Town Targets Tax Titles
Hoping To Sell Delinquencies
Eryn Dion
News Staff Writer

HUBBARDSTON Local officials are moving forward with the process of sending delinquent tax titles to the auction block.

Town Administrator Anita Scheipers said that she and Treasurer Kristin Noel are compiling the necessary documentation for the sale.

“The treasurer and I have met with representatives from one firm to learn more about the process and potential outcomes,” Ms. Scheipers said.

Before the titles can be sold, the town’s designated tax title custodian must bring the list of properties that owe back taxes up to date.

This procedure has been delayed by an investigation into the practices of the previous tax collector, and the hiring process of a full-time replacement.

Hubbardston is one of several area communities that have either sold their delinquent titles or are exploring the process.

Last November, Templeton sold its liens to Boston-based real estate investment company Tallage LLC for $304,890.

Winchendon is also looking to off-load its tax titles to help close a considerable budget shortfall.

The town is owed $1.1 million in back taxes.

While it’s unlikely to receive the full amount, companies like Tallage will generally bid on about two-thirds of the titles sent to auction and communities can recoup as much as 70 percent of what is owed.

One potential use for the revenue would be to help bolster Hubbardston’s struggling capital stabilization fund, which Capital Improvement Committee Chairman Bill Murray said will become unsustainable in the coming years.

After selling the tax titles, the town can assign those funds directly to the capital stabilization fund through a Town Meeting vote or home-rule petition approved by the Legislature.

Although the amount will be considerable for the first year, Mr. Murray was skeptical of its viability as a long-term solution.

“It would provide a big bubble of cash at first,” Mr. Murray said. “But then it would trickle down to a small stream.”

Ms. Scheipers said she will meet with the town’s tax title attorney to gain more information regarding the sale and will provide an update to the Board of Selectmen in the coming weeks.

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