Remnant properties on borough’s radar

NAUGATUCK — The borough is hoping to add some forgotten pieces of land back onto the tax rolls.

“We had a whole list; minor, little, remnant parcels that haven’t paid taxes in 20 years. I decided we would take a look at all of them and try to turn them into tax-generating parcels,” Mayor N. Warren “Pete” Hess said.

Officials are evaluating 72 pieces of property that are not generating any tax revenue and seeing how they can work the best for the borough.

Hess said each property has its own story as to why the borough hasn’t been able to collect taxes on it for so long.

“For example, a subdivision was done and there was a leftover piece and it just sat there and it is being taxed to a developer who is either dead or doesn’t exist, so they aren’t paying it,” Hess said.

That is also the case with two parcels of land off of Rubber Avenue.

There are portions of land along a subdivision at Brighton Road and Coventry Lane that were supposed to be open space, Hess continued. However, the borough never accepted the parcels as open space and they have been sitting dormant for more than two decades.

“We can go back and see if the town wants to take it as open space, we can sell it to one or more neighbors as it will increase the size of their back yards, and add it to the tax rolls. It will give them nicer yards and increase the grand list,” Hess said.

Hess said getting these properties sorted out will take more effort since there are so many people involved.

“The long and short of it there are a host of parcels that are being taxed that we are never going to collect any tax revenue unless we find a creative way to deal with the problem. So this project is an attempt to deal with each piece in a creative fashion to get the parcels on the tax rolls so we will collect taxes,” Hess said.

Some of the land the borough is looking at are roads that have never been accepted by the borough even though they are used as town roads. By officially accepting these roads, Hess said the borough would increase the amount of roads and subsequently increase the grant it receives from the state for road work.

Tax Collector James Goggin said there isn’t an estimate of how much taxes the borough lost out on since many of the properties have been off the tax rolls for so long. He said many of the parcels are very small.

While many of the properties are small, Hess said the lost tax revenue has added up over the past 20 or more years.

“They are all $200 here or $1,000 there, but over time they add up,” Hess said.

Hess said the issue isn’t as large as other problems facing the borough, but it’s an ongoing issue that can be addressed.

“We spend a lot of time every day working on big projects, but we thought it would be a good idea to deal with the little ones as well. They don’t take a lot of time or effort to fix but they are nagging problems that have been ongoing for years,” Hess said.