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Rockland forecloses on home

By Stephen Betts | Apr 03, 2021
Photo by: Stephen Betts 56 Willow St. in Rockland

Rockland — Rockland acquired one property last month for the former owner's failure to pay its property taxes.

The foreclosure occurred March 10 for the single-family house at 56 Willow St.

The house was owned by Oram Barnes Jr. He is in a nursing home in Portland. The property has been in the Barnes family since 1979. The house is not occupied.

The city has the 1,047-square-feet two-story house, located on a tenth-acre lot, assessed at $86,100.

City officials stressed they notify property owners regularly about delinquent taxes. The foreclosures only occur, as dictated by state, 18 months after a lien is placed on the property for non-payment of taxes.

The city tries to work with former owners once foreclosures occur. The city said family members were no longer interested in keeping the property.

The foreclosure is on $2,192 in taxes levied from 2018. There are also more than $4,800 in unpaid taxes from 2019 and 2010 as well as unpaid sewer fees.

One item proposed for the April 12 City Council meeting is to seek bids for the property. Rockland often places tax acquired properties out to bid to generate revenues and get the property back on the tax rolls.

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Comments (5)
Posted by: Stephen K Carroll | Apr 04, 2021 09:19

Think your assestment of the situation is most likely spot on Alan.  Spoke with Councilor yesterday and he agreed that after numerous efforts by the City to resolve this it became clear nothing was going to happen and that the house would only further deteriorate.  By acquiring the property and re-selling (at no profit ) to the City, someone could purchase, re-hab and put the property back to use.  Guess there is a positive side to this story.

Posted by: Alan Benner | Apr 03, 2021 11:33

I have a suspicion here and would love to have someone correct me as appropriate.

I suspect that the home is an asset of Mr. Barnes and not his family. Therefore any proceeds of the sale of the home would reduce the nursing home bill. Thus the family would most likely not receive any proceeds of the sale of the home.

Thus, if they legally could, then why bother to take on the task of selling it when their efforts would see no gain for them?

The family is not responsible for the outrageous nursing home bills no matter what the amount.

Thus the sale of the home will benefit the city of Rockland, and taxpayers will foot the bill of the nursing home.

Our health care is broken and the cost of assisting the elderly to live a dignified life is outrageous.

Posted by: Alexander Hernandez | Apr 03, 2021 10:28

It's interesting that the family would rather have the house foreclosed on than to sell it, especially considering the current housing market.  That kind of money could help to pay the nursing home expenses.

Posted by: Ragna Weaver | Apr 03, 2021 09:24

So sad. I would have contributed to the " Go Fund" page.

Posted by: Stephen K Carroll | Apr 03, 2021 07:40

Each time I read a story like this it gives me a sour feeling in the pit of my stomach.  There is just something inherently wrong with the City profiting from someone's bad fortune. I remember my Grandmother selling rasberries to pay her $300 tax bill.  Rockland's tax burden on a house like this probally in excess of $3 to $4000 dollars.  Even a "Gofundme" page would be better than this.

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