LINCOLN, Maine — Town leaders have filed notices of tax liens on 61 properties for nonpayment of property taxes for fiscal year 2010, the same number pursued for the 2009 fiscal year, Town Manager Lisa Goodwin said Monday.
Town Treasurer Gilberte Mayo mailed the notices last week. Property owners have several weeks to pay or contest the outstanding taxes or Mayo will ask the Town Council whether the town should foreclose on and assume ownership of the properties, Goodwin said.
The town takes possession of very few homes, Goodwin said Monday. “We try to make every effort to have the property owner keep the property.”
The continued struggles of the regional and state economy are probably the biggest cause for the homeowners’ failure to pay taxes on time, Goodwin said.
“Once somebody gets into a pattern of not getting taxes paid, sometimes it will snowball into this foreclosure effect,” Goodwin said. “The first year they get behind and they are in hardship and then suddenly next year’s taxes are due. It compounds the problem for them until foreclosure becomes a problem.”
Lincoln mailed 46 tax lien notices in 2008, 44 in 2007, 51 each in 2006 and 2005, and 41 in 2004, according to records Goodwin provided.
If homeowners rejected council efforts to mediate the tax disputes, town officials will auction the foreclosed properties, Goodwin said. She said she did not know how many properties the town had foreclosed upon in recent years.