We couldn’t allow neglected properties to continue to devalue our communities. Our actions will allow responsible landowners to act accordingly. The buildings, once refurbished will enhance our neighborhoods. I’m fortunate to have been able to work with my fellow councilors to make these needed changes,” said Bangor City Councilor Joe Baldacci.
Part of the article By Nick McCrea, of the BDN:
Bangor City Councilors adopted a policy during Monday night’s meeting that streamlines the process of taking control of properties with lengthy, repetitive histories of neglected tax payments.
For decades, Bangor has been hesitant to go after property owners with back taxes, but the council’s approach has changed in recent years.
Citing fairness to other Bangor property owners who devoutly pay taxes, and a desire to crunch down on the number of abandoned and blighted properties in city limits, councilors told city officials to start cracking down.
In response, city staff rolled out a new policy last month to reflect the path they’ve been zeroing in on since last summer. Councilors approved it unanimously Monday.
The new policy states that the first step will be to ask police whether they had “recent contact at the address.” After that, Code Enforcement or another staff member will visit the site to determine the condition of the property, whether anyone is living there and to leave notification that the city is considering taking it over.
If the owner doesn’t respond or refuses to reach a workout agreement with the city, David Little, the city’s tax collector, will ensure that all required legal notices have been circulated before bringing the question of whether to take the building to councilors.
City officials have said the city should not take over every tax delinquent property that comes its way. Some would be too costly to maintain, demolish or renovate. Others might have environmental contamination or other issues that would prevent the city from taking possession.
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