NAUGATUCK — The borough did something last week that it hasn’t done in more than a decade — auction properties for failure to pay taxes.
On Feb. 12, the borough held its first tax sale since 2000 to auction off three residential properties in hopes of recouping back taxes.
According to Tax Collector Jim Goggin a tax auction is the borough’s last resort of recouping taxes owed on a property.
The properties on the block were 828 Rubber Ave., 47 Johnson St. and 39 General Dalton Drive.
Donald Woodfield, who owned the property on Rubber Avenue, owed approximately $75,000. Robert Anderson, who owned the property on Johnson Street, owed approximately $56,500. Charles and Denise Gibran, who owned the property on General Dalton Drive, owed approximately $79,000, according to the tax collector’s office.
Goggin said the properties on Johnson Street and General Dalton Drive were sold.
According to State Marshal Vincent Messina the property on General Dalton Drive sold for $94,357, which covered exactly what was owed. The property on Johnson Street sold for $58,000, he said. The sale price covered the taxes and fees, but did not cover all the interest, according to Goggin.
Goggin said the town could not make a profit from the auction, and the sale price only goes to cover the back taxes owed, the interest and the lawyer’s fees.
Since the house on Rubber Avenue was not sold last week, Goggin said, the auction was adjourned for 30 days.
During the 30 days Goggin said he will speak with the neighbors and other potential investors to see if they are interested in purchasing the property.
According to Goggin there were originally 12 properties that could have been moved to a tax sale last week. However, nine of them paid their taxes before that happened.
There are another 12 properties that could be sold in the same manner in the next six months, Goggin said.
The largest of these is the former Risdon Manufacturing Property, which owes $774,749 in taxes, according to Goggin. The property, which is located behind the borough’s recycling center, consists of five parcels.
Goggin said the uptick in properties eligible for a tax sale is a sign of the difficult economic times.
“Tax sales are victims of the economy. The house depreciates in value so much it makes it difficult to sell,” Goggin said.
Goggin said the decision to move a property to a tax sale is weighed against factors such as the dollar amount owed, if people are paying more than just the interest, if there has been good communication with tax office and if regular payments are being made.
Goggin said the tax department tries to work with people to ensure the best outcome for the borough and property owners.
“Our job is not to take houses. Our job is to work with the people to get the taxes paid,” Goggin said.