Selectmen OK woman's appeal of property tax lien
The injury required surgery, followed by weeks of rehabiliation at the Carolton Convalscent Hospital. A real estate agent by trade, Herlin, 75, still has difficulty walking and hasn't worked in several years.
Now others who have found themselves in Herlin's circumstances might have sued the town -- the town routinely gets sued when someone on its property trips on a crack, falls off a curb or slips on ice. Many people urged her to do just that.
Herlin didn't sue the town, however, but soon found that relying on Social Security meant the taxes on her South Pine Creek Road condo went unpaid. Not counting interest, Herlin owes $29,977 in back taxes to the town. The condominium she bought in 1995 for $385,000 is now assessed at $546,140.
The tax lien on Herlin's property ended up on the list of tax delinquents the town recently sold to RPD 22, LLC. The business bid $2.02 million for the right to collect delinquent taxes from local property owners who owe more than $20,000. Interest, payments and possible foreclosures will now be handled by RPD 22 LLC rather than the town.
But when the Representative Town Meeting approved the tax lien sale, it made clear that the Board of Selectmen should remove properties from the list if a taxpayer could make a legitimate appeal.
So that's what Herlin did last week, with the help of her friend, former Fairfield Police Officer Jeff Priest. He explained that Herlin is in the process of securing what is known as a reverse mortgage, which would then enable her tax debt to be paid.
"The approval of the reverse mortgage would do that," Tax Collector Stanley Gorzelany said. "They just need a little time to do that." The sale of the tax liens is scheduled to close June 23, and Priest said they can't guarantee that the mortgage process will be done by then.
"Mrs. Herlin's situation was the type the RTM was cognizant of when they put that condition on" the lien sale, Selectman James Walsh said. The reverse mortgage, he said, is probably the fastest way for the town to get the money it is owed. "I don't have a problem with it."
Walsh also pointed out that Herlin so far is the only property owner to come before the board, asking for the lien against her property to be removed from the sale.
All three selectmen agreed to take Herlin's property off the list.