The buildings associated with the former Stephens & Yeaton Ltd. car dealership in Windsor will go up for tax sale, for a third time, this coming July.
The Town of Windsor is trying to collect taxes owed on abandoned buildings claiming some prime downtown real estate.
Two adjacent properties formerly owned by Stephens & Yeaton Ltd., located on the corner of Water and Albert streets, remain unclaimed following tax sales in December 2013 and March 2014.
“We have an unpaid bill that just continues to grow,” said treasurer Doug Armstrong, the Town of Windsor’s director of finance, at a May 13 committee of the whole meeting.
The owners of the property filed for bankruptcy in 2009. The Albert St. property, assessed at $25,000, boasts an unpaid tax bill of more than $5,741.16. The other property, assessed at $210,900, has accumulated in excess of $84,943.21 in unpaid taxes.
Armstrong recommended council allow the treasurer to set $650 as the minimum tax sale starting bid per property, “and approve writing off the remaining outstanding taxes, if at the time the properties are sold, the full amount of taxes and interest owing are not recovered.”
The recommendation, regarding the third tax sale attempt which is scheduled for July 9, received unanimous support from the committee of the whole.
“We’re hoping by establishing that that would encourage some people to bid on the property,” said Armstrong.
Mayor Paul Beazley said more people might express an interest in at least one of the properties if they feel the price is right. He asked if it would be possible for council to request proposals indicating the potential buyer’s intent for the property, and added that it might be more beneficial to the town if council was able to consider more than just the highest bid.
“It gives us some flexibility as to what we think the best development is for the corner,” said Beazley.
Armstrong said the Town of Windsor’s responsibility under the Municipal Government Act is to recover as much of the money still owing on the property as possible.
“This is a tax collection exercise. This isn’t a development process,” he said.
Coun. Scott Geddes asked if legal counsel may be able to provide some clarity on alternate options to accepting the highest bid if there are a few interested parties.
“It would be an absolute shame to see it simply sit, as we have with other properties over the years, and continue to deteriorate,” he said.
CAO Louis Coutinho said the town would be able to discuss the condition of the abandoned properties with the new owners.