Rockland sees uptick in liens, other midcoast towns see little change

By Stephen Betts, BDN Staff
Posted Sept. 11, 2013, at 3:25 p.m.

ROCKLAND, Maine — The number of liens placed on properties by the city for unpaid taxes is at its highest level in 14 years.

Meanwhile, several other midcoast communities report that liens are either down or only slightly up.

In Rockland, there were liens placed on 190 properties for unpaid property taxes on Wednesday, said Tax Collector-Treasurer Susan St. Clair. This is up from 187 last year but the greatest number of liens since 207 were filed in 1999.

The amount of taxes owed on these liens, which are for taxes committed in 2012, is $610,000. This is up from $492,000 in liens from last year. The largest liens filed Thursday were on the Trade Winds Motor Inn, which owes $46,000, and Yachting Solutions, which owes $34,000.

In Belfast, there were a little less than 300 liens filed on July 29, according to Tax Collector Yvonne Hall. This was a slight increase from a year ago. The amount owed on the liens is nearly $452,000.

Hall said that about 700 letters had been sent out to people advising them that liens were going to be placed on their properties before they were filed. That number was up sharply from 500 sent out last year. She said that was likely because the city switched to a twice-a-year tax billing system for the 2012 taxes and that some of the companies that handle escrow accounts failed to make the second payment for some property owners until after the notices were sent but before the liens were filed.

There was no single lien that stood out in terms of the amount owed, she said.

Camden filed 97 liens on Aug. 2, down from 98 last year, Tax Collector Theresa Butler said.

The amount of taxes owed is $255,000, which is down sharply from $351,000 in 2012.

Rockport filed 168 liens on Sept. 6, down from 187 last year. The amount of money owed on this year’s liens totals $216,000.

The largest lien is for the Ledges Hotel, which owes $30,000.

In Warren, 216 liens were filed on July 29, down from 237 last year.

Town Manager Glenn Aho said there are many reasons why people have not paid their taxes. He said often the reason is people simply have forgotten to pay. Another common reason is the result of mix-ups when properties are being transferred from one owner to another.

“It’s hard to draw any conclusion,” Aho said.

http://bangordailynews.com/2013/09/11/news/midcoast/rockland-sees-uptick-in-liens-other-midcoast-towns-see-little-change/ printed on April 20, 2014