Trying to understand the overall tax requirements to run a town can be quite confusing. One has to work through a blizzard of RSA’s that regulate how all taxes (including your property tax) are created, levied and collected.
Then there is the creation of the town budget that outlines how much property tax actually needs to be collected. By the way…Department Heads will be presenting their budgets to the Board of Selectmen on Saturday, November 4th and Saturday, November 18th. Both of these meetings will start at 8:30am and be held at the Town Hall.
(I urge the public to attend these two meetings so you can observe how the budget is constructed. The Budget Advisory Committee (volunteers appointed by the BOS) will meet after that to deliberate suggested alterations of the draft budget. Since OHB is on that committee, I will alert you to the time and date of that meeting.)
Once one gets through the above mentioned required rules and regulations, you will discover that Town Government must operate under more rules and regulations when trying to collect the UNPAID property taxes.
So what did OHB do over the summer? I opened an account online at the Merrimack County Registry of Deeds (click here). Inside this web site one can do title searches of all properties in Merrimack County, including good ole Henniker.
The drop down search menu for documents on this site is extensive, easily over 300 different types of personal documents are indexed and searchable. Including, mortgages, mortgage discharges, foreclosures, property tax lien notices, property tax liens and property tax lien redemption.
RSA 80:76 Tax Deed requires the Town’s Tax Collector to deliver a Collection Tax Deed to the Town on properties that have failed to redeem properly recorded Tax Lien. (RSA 80:76)
As er the RSA, the Town of Henniker has the right to refuse the Tax Deed as outlined below:
- II. Notwithstanding the provisions of paragraph I, the collector shall not execute a deed of the real estate to a municipality when the governing body of the municipality has notified the collector that it shall not accept the deed because acceptance would subject the municipality to potential liability as an owner of property under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act of 1980, 42 U.S.C. section 9601 et seq., the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, 42 U.S.C. section 6901 et seq., RSA 147-A and 147-B, and any other federal or state environmental statute which imposes strict liability on owners for environmental impairment of the real estate involved.
II-a. In addition to the circumstances described in paragraph II, the governing body of the municipality may refuse to accept a tax deed on behalf of the municipality, and may so notify the collector, whenever in its judgment acceptance and ownership of the real estate would subject the municipality to undesirable obligations or liability risks, including obligations under real estate covenants or obligations to tenants, or for any other reason would be contrary to the public interest. Such a decision shall not be made solely for the private benefit of a taxpayer.
III. When a governing body has, under paragraph II or II-a, served notice upon the collector it shall not accept the deed, the tax lien shall remain in effect indefinitely, retaining its priority over other liens. The taxpayer’s right of redemption as provided by RSA 80:69 shall likewise be extended indefinitely, with interest continuing to accrue as provided in that section. The tax lien may be enforced by the municipality by suit as provided under RSA 80:50, and through any remedy provided by law for the enforcement of other types of liens and attachments. If at any time, in the judgment of the municipal governing body, the reasons for refusing the tax deed no longer apply, and the tax lien has not been satisfied, the governing body may instruct the collector to issue the tax deed, and the collector shall do so after giving the notices required by RSA 80:77 and 80:77-a.
Upon reviewing Henniker and Merrimack County Registry of Deeds records, one will find properties on the Town of Henniker’s Tax Lien list that are more than 2 years un-redeemed and NO Tax Deeds have been executed.
The last tax deed issued and recorded at the Merrimack County Registry of Deeds is dated August 13, 2014. The 5.6 acre property is located at the corner of Longview Drive and River Road (lot 612-B2)
A review of Board of Selectmen minutes shows no agenda item refusing the acceptance of any Tax Deeds for the reasons indicated in the RSA, despite numerous properties being tax delinquent for more than two years.
Part II: how some homeowners, since the 1980’s, have been gaming the system by paying their two year lien in May and in June are right back on the unpaid tax list with a fresh new lien which will be paid in two years.
OHB…keeping it real… making it easier for you to find the facts so you can draw your own conclusions…..
“There are things public officials would never do if they thought somebody might call them out on it.”