GARDINER – Gardiner officials have accepted offers on three tax-acquired properties the city had put up for sale, returning them to the municipal tax roll.
At Wednesday’s city council meeting, councilors voted unanimously to accept the offers and issue municipal waivers for 25 Mount Vernon Street, 36 Oak Street and 596 Water Street.
All three are among 16 tax-acquired properties for which city officials have worked to find resolutions.
The city had seized some of the properties earlier this year for overdue taxes or sewer charges. Several are vacant plots. Others had bid but received no bids. One was subject to a tax lien from the Internal Revenue Service.
City Council accepted offers of $ 121,000 from Xiao Jun Qiu for 25 Mount Vernon St., $ 35,000 from Eco Property Management for 36 Oak Street and $ 115,000 from Elizabeth Rubackin for 596 Water St.
The city contracted with Augusta’s Gilbert Group Real Estate & Property Management to sell the three properties.
The properties at 25 Mount Vernon Street and 596 Water Street had been occupied.
In many cases, towns and villages sell foreclosed properties to recover what is owed to them in unpaid property taxes, sewer charges, or other costs incurred in the sale of the property.
In 2018, the Maine legislature passed a law, modeled on a case in Albion, requiring municipalities that had foreclosed on properties previously owned by income-eligible individuals over the age of 65 to sell those properties to their fair market value. Once the costs of the municipality are recovered, the remaining funds are returned to the former owners.
In the case of the Mount Vernon Street and Water Street properties, city officials have chosen to go this route.
Mayor Patricia Hart said the Water Street property was occupied by someone who did not meet that age requirement, but city council agreed to sell the property as much as possible.
The Water Street property belonged to Penny Sergent, a former city councilor who failed to pay property taxes and sewer charges, leading to foreclosure. Her council seat was declared vacant earlier this year when she left home and moved to another community.
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