By LEE J. KAHRS
FOREST DALE – Nine mobile homes are slated to go to tax sale next month as the town attempts to collect $26,600 in back taxes.
Town Manager Dave Atherton said in a phone interview Monday that the town waited to send the trailers to tax sale while the Conway Terrace mobile home park was being sold.
“We held off last spring because the park was up for sale and they were trying to form a co-op, but that didn’t happen.” Atherton said.
Former owners Joe Bressette and Gene Bisson sold the park to Michael Bilodeau over the summer.
The Conway Terrace mobile home park features 11 trailers total, many of them dating back to the 1970s and 80s. The newest trailer listed for tax sale is 1997, followed by 1988, ’87,’86, ’77, ’76, ’73, ’72, and ’65.
The Conway Terrace trailer park has been an eyesore for years on Forest Dale Road and is the site of regular police calls. As one example, former resident Harold P. Mahoney was arrested in November on drug and weapons charges after a five-month investigation by the FBI and the Vermont Drug Task Force. Mahoney was charged with four counts of selling crack cocaine, and one count of possession of a firearm.
Mahoney’s trailer is one of the nine up for tax sale.
Atherton said the town had discussed how to help clean up the park a number of times when the pending sale came up.
“We were saying, ‘This is a pretty bad piece of property in Brandon and we should do something to clean it up,’” he said.
The back taxes are mostly comprised of unpaid sewer fees totaling $22,0008. Back property taxes owed come to $4,592.
Typically, while someone owns the property in a mobile home park, the trailer owner owns the trailer and is responsible for a lot leasing fee and all utilities, Atherton said.
“We’ve tried to work out payment plans with these folks, but it didn’t happen,” he said. “It’s a tough decision but it’s an accounting nightmare to keep rolling these back taxes over.”
But Atherton added that often with town tax sales, the amount due the town is paid last minute, just before or on the day of the tax sale, allowing people to keep their homes.
Atherton said he is also hopeful that Bilodeau will work to improve the park and the property.
“He has good ideas,” Atherton said. “I hope he follows through with them.”