DEXTER, Maine — The Dexter Town Council plans to take possession of a Free Street property on which the town has a lien, even though the lien was placed on the property because of inaction by a former owner.
The former homeowner, Roger Belanger, had co-owned and operated an illegal junkyard on Garland Road a few years ago, a court found. The town sued Belanger and his partner, Randy Gudroe, and was awarded judgment of $55,000 from Belanger and $25,000 from Gudroe, according to Town Manager Dave Pearson. Gudroe eventually cleaned up the junkyard to the satisfaction of the Maine Department of Environmental Protection, but that action did not discharge the liens.
Since Belanger owned a Free Street home, the town placed a lien on the property to collect the judgment against him. Although the property was not tax-acquired and was not deeded to the town, the town legally placed the property up for auction, according to Pearson. He said there was a person interested in the property, but that interest withered when the town could not provide a clear title.
Town officials were recently “shocked” to learn that Belanger had sold the Free Street property to a friend, Mark Silva, Pearson said. In addition, the town learned that Silva had mortgaged the property despite the town’s lien. The lien remains with the property, he said.
The town now will follow legal procedure and take possession of the property, Pearson said. Abutting landowners will be notified and certified notices will be sent to Silva and Belanger advising them of the intended action. Once those procedures have been completed, the town will change the locks and it will become town property, according to Pearson.
Pearson said it is likely the town will auction off the property to recoup the $3,884.18 in taxes that are due. The town will place a lien on any other property Belanger owns in order to recoup the $55,000 court judgment.
Attempts to reach Belanger and Silva on Tuesday were unsuccessful.