Borough bundling properties

NAUGATUCK — Officials are considering a “buy one, get one” sale on certain borough-owned properties.

The catch is the property the purchaser “gets” is one the borough hasn’t been able to sell.

Mayor N. Warren “Pete” Hess said the plan will start with six pieces of property. Of these six, three are properties that the borough might be able to sell easily and three are properties that the borough has marketed in tax foreclosure sales and has had a difficult time selling.

Under the plan, if developers want to purchase any of the properties in better condition, they will have to agree to accept title to and fix up a less desirable piece of property.

The idea is part of Hess’ larger plan to address remnant properties Naugatuck owns and get them back on the tax rolls.

When a property owner that owes back taxes goes into foreclosure, the tax liens take priority over any liens a bank may have on the property.

“So, if there was a bank, we knocked them out of the box and take title,” Hess said.

Sometimes the bank will pay off the tax liens and retain title, Hess said. If that does not happen, the borough ends up owning the property.

“The ones you wind up owning are usually less than perfect. It’s not cream of the crop stuff. Which is why we are trying to develop a realistic, practical manner in which to get all of the properties back on the tax rolls,” Hess said.

Two of the properties Hess is planning on marketing together are 805 Maple Hill Road and 828 Rubber Ave.

The borough took title of 805 Maple Hill Road in March. The property is 2 acres and there is a 1,840-square-foot house on the land, according to the property card.

Although the house isn’t in good shape, Hess believes this property will sell quickly due to its location.

According to the property card for 828 Rubber Ave., there is a 1,614-square-foot house and 450-square-foot barn sitting on a 2-acre parcel of land. The borough took title to the property in February.

Hess said this property is difficult to sell because it is an interior lot and the house and barn have to be demolished before anything can be built there.

The plan to bundle properties was discussed at the Board of Mayor and Burgesses meeting this month.

During the meeting, Hess said the borough valued the property on Maple Hill Road at about $85,000. Hess said one plan would be to advertise both of the properties together for the $85,000 and see what buyers the borough can attract.

Hess said the idea is to collect taxes on properties again rather than getting the best possible price for each parcel.

“We could just put them up for sale and try and get the highest price, but some of these aren’t going to sell,” Hess said.

The board ultimately decided to send out a request for proposal for the bundles of properties to see what developers are willing to pay for them. The requests are expected to go out in the beginning of July.

Burgess Rocky Vitale asked why the land wouldn’t just be divided between the adjacent property owners.

Hess said officials tried in some cases, but their offers were declined.

“They won’t take them,” Hess said.

Burgess Kathleen Donovan asked what would happen if a developer won a bid on a bundle of properties but declined to do anything with the more difficult one.

Tax Collector James Goggin, who has been working with Hess on this plan, said the borough would work to ensure that didn’t happen.

“They would have to. It would be part of the contract. There would be some bond they would have to put up or something,” Goggin said.