MACHIAS, Maine — Selectmen voted Wednesday night to evict the people living in five tax-acquired properties in town.
“In the past, we put tax acquired properties out to bid,” Chairman Aubrey “Skip” Carter said. “All should be treated the same.”
It was explained that some of the homes were mobile homes on rented land and that the Maine Municipal Association advised the town that if the town moved the trailers, it would be liable for any damage.
But, if the trailers are not moved, the town also will be liable for any lot rent fees.
Maine Municipal Association also suggested that the town attempt to sell the properties back to the original owners first.
The board instead preferred to immediately put the properties out to public bid and begin eviction proceedings against the people. The selectmen did not know how many people would be affected, but at least one of the trailers contains a multigenerational family with a small child.
When asked if any of the people could enter into a payment plan to reacquire their property, Carter said, “We’ll address that when and if anyone comes forward.”
Wednesday’s board meeting was Town Manager Christopher Loughlin’s first since he was hired. It is a position Loughlin should be comfortable in, since he also was the Machias town manager several years ago.
The board formally accepted Betsy Fitzgerald’s resignation as town manager. She has accepted the position of Washington County manager. They set 11:30 a.m. Monday, April 5, for an open house for all town employees and the public to come to the town office and wish Fitzgerald well in her new position.
Loughlin outlined the state Department of Transportation’s paving plans in Region 4, which include some 49 miles in Washington County.
The paving projects in Machias include a 20-mile stretch of Route 192 from the intersection of Route 1 to Route 9. Paving will also take place from the intersection of Routes 1 and 1A to Jonesport, and from Route 1 to the intersection of the Johnson Cove and Schoppee Roads.
“It looks like Washington County is getting the lions’ share,” Loughlin said.
The board also voted to waive rent in the town office building for the veterans service office, as has been their practice, but decided they would begin collecting rent in two years.
In other business, the board made appointments, donated six abandoned bicycles to local schools, renewed Aramark Educational Services’ liquor license at the University of Maine at Machias, and opted to dedicate the 2009 town report to all town employees.
“They are the town’s most valuable assets,” Carter said.