The city is taking steps to acquire two more properties with overdue tax bills.
The owners of both properties — 675 North French St. and 31 Merrimac St. — died and no heirs have stepped forward despite written and advertised notifications, according to David Little, city tax collector and treasurer. The total owed in outstanding taxes and utilities for both properties is about $16,000, he said.
The move is part of the city’s recent efforts to clear its tax rolls of delinquent properties. It comes a month after city councilors voted to take possession of nine other properties, which was believed to be the biggest such seizure in the city’s history.
The city has been sending tax bills for the North French Street property to the heirs of Gladys Bowden since the city’s 2013 fiscal year, Little said. The last few payments came from Bangor Savings Bank, but those payments stopped in 2015. The bank did receive notifications of the foreclosing liens, but made no contact with the city, he said.
And tax bills for the Merrimac Street property had been sent to heirs of Alice Thibodeau since at least 1999. Taxes on that property were paid by Fred Thibodeau of Hermon until sometime in 2014, Little said.
Little said the city can’t say for sure if either of the deceased former owners had a will.
Members of the City Council’s Finance Committee agreed Sept. 18 to move forward with acquiring the properties. The full council will vote on the issue on Monday.
In an Aug. 7 memo to the Finance Committee, several department heads and other staff members noted that they had identified 131 real estate accounts that had at least one matured tax lien.
But that list was pared down to 12 — nine of which were tackled last month — after mobile homes, owner-occupied properties and properties on which partial payments have been made were removed and after 15 of the delinquent accounts were paid off through agreements with the city.
Councilors made clearing the city property tax rolls of delinquent accounts a priority in 2013, when they directed staff to begin the process of acquiring two properties whose owners were more than five years behind on taxes.
The crackdown became tougher last year, when the city issued written warnings to those owing back taxes, stating it would take over their properties if they didn’t respond and try to set up payment plans.
Those letters brought many people forward, city officials said at the time.