Town sending properties to tax auction

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BEACON FALLS — The town is preparing to send six properties to a tax sale in November to try and recoup $198,859 in back taxes.

The properties, which include two business and four residences, are set for a tax auction on Nov. 9.

The two businesses are River’s Edge Pub & Grill at 29 North Main St. and Botty and Lenners auto repair shop at 215 South Main St. As of July 31, the back taxes for the pub was $18,694, and $67,166 was owed on the auto repair shop.

Tax Collector Mary Anne Holloway said she sends delinquent properties to sale if they don’t pay for three years, though some go longer because they are working on a payment plan.

Holloway said no taxes have been paid on the pub in three years.

“For those three years I have tried to contact them to work with them on having the taxes paid and finding out what the problem was. There was absolutely no communication. They never came in to the office. They never called me back,” Holloway said.

Joe Dorosh, owner of the River’s Edge Pub & Grill, declined to comment on Monday.

It’s too late for the owners of the six properties to start a payment plan, but they can avoid the tax sale by paying off the total amount owed including legal fees.

“We fell behind, but we’re going to pay it,” Michael Botty Sr., co-owner of Botty and Lenners auto repair shop, told the Republican-American. “We’re not closing our doors.”

Holloway said she doesn’t want to lose businesses in town and works with business owners and homeowners when she can to set up payment plans.

One of those businesses is Betkoski Brothers Excavating, which is owned by Selectman Peter Betkoski, a Democrat who is running for reelection in November.

Betkoski owed over $17,000 in back taxes as of August on the business.

Holloway said Betkoski has been on a repayment plan since 2015 and has paid back thousands of dollars so far, which is why the property hasn’t been brought to a tax sale.

“He is doing what he is supposed to be doing,” Holloway said.

Holloway said she believes three of the four residences that would be sold in November are currently occupied. She said she hopes the owners pay before the properties go to sale.

“This is gut wrenching. I’m really hoping that the people can step up and take care of this,” Holloway said.

The four residences up for auction are 49 Hubbell Ave., 11 Fairfield Place, 107 South Main St., and 555 Skokorat St. The back taxes owed on the four residences range from $16,952 to $42,100.

If the properties are sold at the auction, the property owners have up to six months to pay off back taxes and legal fees before the land is transferred.

Holloway said bringing a property to a tax sale is not an overnight decision. Although there aren’t exact rules for when to bring a property to a tax sale, the deciding factors are time and communication, she said.

“It is not just picked willy-nilly. All the people on the tax sale have gotten letters from me, phone calls from me. Most importantly there has been a demand notice that says if they do not respond it will go to the marshal,” Holloway said.

Holloway added, “Every decision is a fair one, but sometimes they are tough ones.”

The Republican-American contributed to this article.