By Andreas Yilma Register Citizen
PROSPECT — A former nursing home will be going up again for a tax auction for the second time in two months to satisfy the hundreds of thousands of dollars it owes in back taxes.
The owner of RegalCare at Prospect owes about $226,170 in back taxes, which doesn’t include the upcoming Jan. 1 tax payment of about $36,592. The building at 25 Royal Crest Drive went before a tax auction on Oct. 28 with an opening bid at $301,000 but the town received only one bid of $150,000 at the time. Town officials didn’t accept the bid and continued the tax auction to Nov. 18 at 6 p.m. in Town Hall, according to Tax Collector Anne Marie Burr.
“No one bid at the appropriate price,” Burr said.
Royal Senior Holdings of Lakewood, N.J. is listed as the owner of the facility, which sits on 8.4 acres of land and was built in 1970, according to its property card. The property is in a RA-1 zone with some wetlands on the property, said Burr.
The owner became delinquent on taxes and did not pay tax bills on the 2018, 2019 or 2020 grand lists. The 2018 grand list was due on July 1, 2019, Burr said.
The building was supposed to go before a tax auction before the COVID-19 pandemic hit the state, but one of Gov. Ned Lamont’s executive orders halted tax auctions, said Burr.
The town council previously voted to reduce a tax redemption period from six months to 60 days. In a redemption period, if the owner, lienholders, and anyone who has an interest in the property decides to redeem the property, they can pay whatever it was bided at and interest at 1.5% per month according to Burr.
State marshal John Barbieri said there isn’t a time restraint for the auction and the town can continue to deny low bidders.
The owner purchased the facility from Paradigm Healthcare in 2016 and has not been in contact with Prospect officials since Feb 2020, Burr said. Attempts to contact the owner were unsuccessful.
The former nursing home had some issues before its closure.
Chesprocott Health District Director of Health Maura Esposito said she ordered the facility closed around 2017 due to septic issues.
“The septic backed up into the facility and they were not addressing the issues swiftly so I ordered them closed,” Esposito said. “Currently the existing septic is no longer functioning.”
A new engineered septic design would need to be submitted to the health district’s office and possibly reviewed by the state Department of Public Health Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, according to Esposito.