BEACON FALLS — Officials are considering whether to pursue a few properties set for a tax auction next month.
“There are several pieces of property that are on the tax auction which I believe we, as a town, should be considering acquiring,” Selectman Michael Krenesky said during the Board of Selectmen meeting this month.
The town will send six properties to a tax auction on Nov. 9 to try and recoup $198,859 in back taxes. The properties include the River’s Edge Pub & Grill at 29 North Main St., and residences at 49 Hubbell Ave. and 107 South Main St.
“Those three pieces of property may have some future value to the town of Beacon Falls,” Krenesky said.
The back taxes owed on the River’s Edge Pub & Grill, which is owned by Joe Dorosh, are $18,695. The home at 49 Hubbell Ave., which is owned by Steven and Suzanne Christiano, is being auctioned for $42,100. The home at 107 South Main St., which is owned by Martin Rau, is being auctioned for $16,953.
As of Monday, none of the property owners had paid off their back taxes, according to Tax Collector Mary Anne Holloway.
Krenesky said each of the three properties has a unique benefit to the town. The property on Hubbell Avenue is adjacent to Riverbend Park, the restaurant is adjacent to the firehouse, and the South Main Street property is in an ideal spot for development of downtown, Krenesky said.
“What direction do we, as a town, want to go in on Main Street? This falls into the long-term economic redevelopment of Main Street. We have an opportunity in front of us and I think we should be considering the future of Beacon Falls,” Krenesky said.
Although he recommended the town purchase the restaurant, Krenesky called the decision painful.
“It pains me because I don’t want to lose a business in town,” Krenesky said. “I’d like to see someone come in and get the business back on its feet. The problem is we don’t know who is going to take over that business if this tax auction goes through as advertised.”
A message left with Dorosh wasn’t returned as of press time. The owners of the homes couldn’t be reached for comment.
In the past, the town has taken ownership of properties by forgiving back taxes. This was done with land adjacent to Riverbend Park to expand the park and the property at 20 North Main St. where the Beacon Falls Pharmacy is now.
Since the process has started for the tax auction, forgiving the back taxes in exchange for the properties is no longer an option for the town. The town would have to bid on them at the auction. Officials said they would only bid the amount owed to the town, if they move forward with doing so.
“If we have to get into any bidding, we walk away because we’re not in that business,” Krenesky said.
First Selectman Christopher Bielik said even if the town does manage to acquire the properties at the auction, it does not guarantee it will be able to take ownership of them.
“No matter what happens at a tax auction, whoever obtains a parcel because paying delinquent taxes on somebody else’s behalf, the party that is in arrears has up to six months to be able to reobtain their property by making good on the bill they owe. That has happened in the past,” Bielik said.
The board made no decision on whether to bid on the properties. Any town purchase over $19,999 requires a town meeting to approve. This means the board would have to get voter approval to bid on 49 Hubbell Ave.
On Monday, Bielik said the town hasn’t received all the information it needs to make an informed decision and is still looking into the matter.