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Ridgefield Plans Property Auction For Back Taxes

RIDGEFIELD, Conn. – There are 21 properties listed in Ridgefield Town Hall that are scheduled to go up for auction this fall so the town can collect back property taxes, the Board of Finance was told Tuesday night. But Tax Collector Jane Berendsen-Hill anticipates that by the Sept. 11 auction, most of the properties will have been paid off, if not by the owner then by the banks that have liens or mortgages on them.

Most banks, Berendsen-Hill said, would rather pay off the taxes rather than lose any future mortgage payments owed to them.

In the eight years Berendsen-Hill has been the town’s tax collector, she said, she has only done one auction of this type.

“It’s much more common throughout the state" than it used to be Berendsen-Hill said. “But the dollars have become too big to ignore.”

Money that comes to the town from back taxes goes into the revenue stream for that fiscal year. A $300,000 payment received before the end of the 2012 fiscal year, for example, went to balancing the tax collector's budget.

At this point, the only way for the property owners to have their home removed from the auction is to pay the entire balance owed. They can’t begin a payment plan to pay off the bill as owners who came in prior to the end of June were able to.

“Whether it goes to auction or not, we’re going to get our money. Because if it doesn’t go to auction, it means that they’ve come up with a solution,” said First Selectman Rudy Marconi .

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