Chip Albee Admits Article 9 Was Amended, Still Thinks Selectmen Have Authority to Do Auction

Reversing his previous statements, Selectman Chip Albee acknowledged today that Warrant Article 9 had been amended to authorize the selectmen only to sell tax-deed properties by sealed bids, and not by public auction or any other means. However, Chip maintained that there’s nothing in the law, RSA 80:80, that allowed Town Meeting to restrict the selectmen’s options in regards to selling property.

For reference, here is the text of the RSA:

80:80 Transfer of Tax Lien. –
I. No transfer of any tax lien upon real estate acquired by a town or city as a result of the execution of the real estate tax lien by the tax collector for nonpayment of taxes thereon shall be made to any person by the municipality during the 2-year period allowed for redemption, nor shall title to any real estate taken by a town or city in default of redemption be conveyed to any person, unless the town, by majority vote at the annual meeting, or city council by vote, shall authorize the selectmen or the mayor to transfer such lien or to convey such property by deed.
II. If the selectmen or mayor are so authorized to convey such property by deed, either a public auction shall be held, or the property may be sold by advertised sealed bids. The selectmen or mayor shall have the power to establish a minimum amount for which the property is to be sold and the terms and conditions of the sale.
II-a. If the selectmen or mayor are authorized to transfer such liens during the 2-year redemption period, either a public auction shall be held, or the liens may be sold by advertised sealed bids. The selectmen or mayor may establish minimum bids, and may set the terms and conditions of the sale. Such liens may be sold singly or in combination, but no fractional interest in any lien shall be sold. Such transfer shall not affect the right of the owner or others with a legal interest in the land to redeem the tax lien pursuant to RSA 80:69, or make partial payments in redemption pursuant to RSA 80:71, but the transferee shall become the lienholder for purposes of RSA 80:72 and 80:76.
III. The selectmen may, by a specific article in the town warrant, or the mayor, by ordinance, may be authorized to dispose of a lien or tax deeded property in a manner than otherwise provided in this section, as justice may require.
IV. Such authority to transfer or to sell shall continue in effect for one year from the date of the town meeting or action by the city or town council provided, however, that the authority to transfer tax liens, or to sell real estate acquired in default of redemption, or to vary the manner of such sale or transfer as justice may require, may be granted for an indefinite period, in which case the warrant article or vote granting such authority shall use the words “indefinitely, until rescinded” or similar language.
V. Towns and cities may retain and hold for public uses real property the title to which has been acquired by them by tax collector’s deed, upon vote of the town meeting or city council approving the same.
VI. For purposes of this section, the authority to dispose of the property “as justice may require” shall include the power of the selectmen or mayor to convey the property to a former owner, or to a third party for benefit of a former owner, upon such reasonable terms as may be agreed to in writing, including the authority of the municipality to retain a mortgage interest in the property, or to reimpose its tax lien, contingent upon an agreed payment schedule, which need not necessarily reflect any prior redemption amount. Any such agreement shall be recorded in the registry of deeds. This paragraph shall not be construed to obligate any municipality to make any such conveyance or agreement.
Source. 1987, 322:1. 1992, 173:3, 4. 1993, 176:10. 1997, 266:4, eff. Jan. 1, 1998.

Whether or not 80:80 allows Town Meeting to place restrictions on the manner of sale of tax-deeded properties is a completely different question from whether Town Meeting amended Article 9 to authorize the selectmen to sell the tax-deeded properties by sealed bids only. I am glad that Chip has moved on and is no longer saying that the amendment did not happen.

Chip Albee Insists Amendment That He Voted For Didn’t Happen

Selectman Chip Albee is insisting that Town Meeting did not restrict the sale of tax-deeded properties to sealed bids only. “This discussion about whether or not [inudible] should only be put out for sealed bid, and not be auctioned, I think the question in my mind is not whether or not the town voted on that, because they didn’t.”

But we did. Continue reading “Chip Albee Insists Amendment That He Voted For Didn’t Happen”

Selectmen’s Meeting for May 1, 2017

0:00 CALL TO ORDER / PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE
0:30 PUBLIC COMMENT
6:10 APPOINTMENT: Richard Sager
35:40 REVIEW and approval of minutes
41:25 SIGNATURE FILES
51:40 CONTINUED BUSINESS
59:00 SELECTMEN’S UPDATE
1:06:30 Highway Department several lines items over budget
1:08:20 Calendar announcements
1:09:40 Correspondence
1:16:00 RTK from Don McWhirter
1:24:00 OTHER BUSINESS
1:26:00 PUBLIC COMMENT
1:26:10 Chris Sawyer — Fire truck
1:27:15 Guy Pike — Stonewalls in town rights of way
1:27:40 Max Ledoux
1:29:00 RETURN TO BUSINESS: redo motions from last Friday’s meeting because wrong dates were used by accident

Richard Sager Appointment with Selectmen on Auction of Tax-Deeded Properties

Richard Sager met with the selectmen on Monday, May 1, to tell them that they can still conduct an auction of tax-deeded properties even though Town Meeting voted to restrict the selectmen to selling the properties by sealed bids only. He then went own to promote his own services as auctioneer.

You may want to review the video from Town Meeting of Article 9 being amended:

(If you want, you can skip to the 15:12 mark to see Steven Snow amend the article specifically to restrict the selectmen’s authority to selling properties by sealed bid.)

The language of the amended article as passed by a show of hands (i.e. with a clear majority) was:

To see if the Town will vote pursuant to RSA 80:80 to authorize the Selectmen to convey real property acquired by the Town by Tax Collector’s Deed by advertised sealed bid.

Sager incorrectly thought the language was:

To see if the Town will vote pursuant to RSA 80:80 to authorize the Selectmen to convey real property acquired by the Town by Tax Collector’s Deed by advertised sealed bid or in such manner as determined by the Selectmen as justice may require.

This is because the first draft of the minutes was incorrect. However, Heather Cubeddu, Town Clerk, has corrected the minutes on the town website. Sager likely printed out the draft minutes back in March and then didn’t check to see if they had been updated before his meeting with the selectmen.

He told the selectmen that, according to a conversation he had with someone at the New Hampshire Municipal Association, the words “as justice may require” mean that the selectmen could still do an auction even though “public auction” was specifically removed from the article by the voters. However, as demonstrated, Town Meeting removed the the “as justice may require” language completely, rendering Sager’s argument moot.

The relevant statute, as reference in the warrant article, is 80:80-II, and reads:

If the selectmen or mayor are so authorized to convey such property by deed, either a public auction shall be held, or the property may be sold by advertised sealed bids. The selectmen or mayor shall have the power to establish a minimum amount for which the property is to be sold and the terms and conditions of the sale.

Clearly, the selectmen are “so authorized” to sell tax-deeded properties by “advertised sealed bid” only. The selectmen are not “so authorized” to conduct a “public auction.”

The selectmen had simply forgotten that the article had been amended. But I have sent them the above video from Town Meeting, and I am sure that after they review it they will follow the will of the voters and not conduct an auction.

Town Meeting 2017

Video of Town Meeting by Joe Kowalski:

Here is a draft overview of Town Meeting 2017, by Heather Cubeddu, Town Clerk:

 

Article 8: To see if the Town will vote to authorize the Cemetery Trustees to create an Expendable Cemetery Trust Fund under the provisions of RSA 31:19-a wherein the money received from the sale of Rights to Burial will be deposited. The funds received from the sale of such lots shall be deposited with the Trustees of the Trust Funds for the maintenance of cemeteries, which shall include cemeteries which have been abandoned and become municipal cemeteries for management purposes pursuant to RSA 289:20-21. Maintenance shall include repair of gravestones as well as maintenance of cemetery grounds.

(Majority vote required)

PASSED

Article 9: To see if the Town will vote pursuant to RSA 80:80 to authorize the Selectmen to convey real property acquired by the Town by Tax Collector’s Deed by Public Auction (or advertised sealed bid) or in such manner as determined by the Selectmen as justice may require. The law allows this authority to extend indefinitely until rescinded by a vote of Town Meeting. This article recommended by the Selectmen.

(Majority vote required)

Article amended to read: “To see if the Town will vote pursuant to RSA 80:80 to authorize the Selectmen to convey real property acquired by the Town by Tax Collector’s Deed by advertised sealed bid.”

AMENDED ARTICLE PASSED

Article 10: To see if the Town will vote to raise and appropriate the sum of Forty-Two Thousand Dollars ($42,000.00) to be added to the previously established Fire/Rescue Department SCBA (Self Contained Breathing Apparatus) Equipment Capital Reserve Fund. The full amount ($42,000.00) will come from the Unassigned Fund Balance and no amount to be raised from taxation.

(Recommended by the Board of Selectmen 3-0 and the Budget Committee 5-0) (Majority vote required)

PASSED

Article 11: To see if the town will vote to raise and appropriate the sum of Seventy-Five Thousand Dollars ($75,000.00) to be deposited to the previously established Library Capital Building Fund. The full amount ($75,000.00) will come from the Unassigned Fund Balance and no amount to be raised from taxation.

(Recommended by the Board of Selectmen 3-0 and the Budget Committee 5-0) (Majority vote required)

PASSED

Article 12: To see if the town will vote to raise and appropriate the sum of Seventy-Five Thousand Dollars ($75,000.00) to be deposited to the previously established Police Department Capital Reserve Fund. The full amount ($75,000.00) will come from the Unassigned Fund Balance and no amount to be raised from taxation.

(Recommended by the Board of Selectmen 3-0 and the Budget Committee 4-1) (Majority vote required)

PASSED

Article 13: To see if the Town will vote to raise and appropriate the sum of Two Hundred Thirty-Five Thousand Dollars ($235,000.00) for the preparation and paving of Town Roads.

(Recommended by the Board of Selectmen 3-0 and the Budget Committee 4-1) (Majority vote required)

PASSED

Article 14: To see if the Town will vote to raise and appropriate the sum of Twenty-Five Thousand Dollars ($25,000.00) to replace the Lake Road boat ramp.

(Recommended by the Board of Selectmen 3-0 and the Budget Committee 5-0) (Majority vote required)

PASSED

Article 15: To see if the town will vote to raise and appropriate the sum of Nine Thousand Two Hundred Six Dollars ($9,206.00) for the Mirror Lake Boat Launch and Improvements. (Recommended by the Board of Selectmen 3-0 and the Budget Committee 4-1)

(Majority vote required)

PASSED

Article 16: To see if the Town will vote to raise and appropriate the sum of Forty-One Thousand Two-Hundred Sixty Eight Dollars ($41,268.00) to purchase and install new mobile radios for the Fire/Rescue Department.

(Recommended by the Board of Selectmen 3-0 and the Budget Committee 5-0) (Majority vote required)

PASSED

Article 17: To see if the Town will vote to raise and appropriate the sum of Fifteen Thousand Dollars ($15,000.00) for a watershed plan to be administered by the Lake Winnipesaukee Association. This will be a non-lapsing appropriation per RSA 32:7, VI and will not lapse until the Watershed Plan is completed or by December 31, 2019, whichever comes first.

(Recommended by the Board of Selectmen 3-0 and the Budget Committee 5-0) (Majority vote required)

PASSED

Article 18: To see if the town will vote to raise and appropriate the sum of Fifty Five Thousand Dollars ($55,000.00) for the purchase of a new police vehicle.

(Recommended by the Board of Selectmen 3-0 and the Budget Committee 5-0) (Majority vote required)

PASSED

Article 19: To see if the Town will vote to raise and appropriate the sum of Thirteen Thousand Dollars ($13,000.00) to purchase and install a new air filtration system in the Town Garage.

(Recommended by the Board of Selectmen 3-0 and the Budget Committee 5-0) (Majority vote required)

PASSED

Article 20: To see if the town will vote to raise and appropriate the sum of Five Hundred Dollars ($500.00) to support Mount Washington Valley Supports Recovery.

(Recommended by the Board of Selectmen 3-0 and the Budget Committee 4-1) (Majority vote required)

Article amended “To see if the town will vote to raise and appropriate the sum of Two Thousand Five Hundred Dollars ($2,500.00) to support Mount Washington Valley Supports Recovery.”

AMENDED ARTICLE PASSED

Article 21: To see if the town will vote to raise and appropriate the sum of Ten Thousand Dollars ($10,000.00) for the Pier 19 Crosswalk Project. Nine Thousand Dollars ($9,000.00) to come from outside fundraising and One Thousand Dollars ($1,000.00) to come from taxation. This project will be null and void should the fundraising portion of Nine Thousand Dollars ($9,000.00) not be reached.

(Recommended by the Board of Selectmen 3-0 and the Budget Committee 3-2) (Majority vote required)

DEFEATED

Article 22: To see if the town will vote to establish a contingency fund for the current year for unanticipated expenses that may arise and further to raise and appropriate Five Thousand Dollars ($5,000.00) for said purpose. Said sum to come from the Unassigned Fund Balance and no amount to be raised from taxation. Any appropriation left in the fund at year end will lapse into the general fund.

(Recommended by the Board of Selectmen 3-0 and the Budget Committee 4-1) (Majority vote required)

PASSED

Article 23: To see if the Town will vote to adopt the “all veterans’ property tax credit” under RSA 72:28-b. If adopted, the credit will be available to any resident, or the spouse or surviving spouse of any resident, who (1) served not less than 90 days on active service in the armed forces of the United States and was honorably discharged or was an officer honorably separated from service, and (2) is not eligible for and not receiving the credit for veterans who served in a qualifying war or armed conflict or for veterans with a service-connected disability. If adopted, the credit will be in the amount of $500.00, which is the same amount as the credit for a veteran who served in a qualifying war or armed conflict. If the credit is adopted, any person desiring to claim the credit will be required to file an application with the selectmen or the assessors by April 15 of the tax year.

PASSED

Article 24: To see if the Town will vote to raise and appropriate the Budget Committee recommended sum of Three Million Six Hundred Fifty Two Thousand Seven Hundred and Fifty- Five Dollars ($3,652,755) for general Town Operations. The Selectmen recommended Three Million Six Hundred Fifty Seven Thousand Seven Hundred and Fifty-Five Dollars ($3,657,755). This article does not include any special or individual warrant articles addressed separately.

(Recommended by the Budget Committee 5-2) (Majority vote required)

PASSED

Article 25 (by Petition): To see if the Town will vote to require the board of selectmen to hold all meetings of the board of selectmen, both regular and work session, at 6:30 PM to allow as many residents of the town to attend meetings as possible. The selectmen currently hold most meetings at either 9AM or 4PM, when the vast majority of residents are unable to attend. Holding meetings after normal work hours would be in keeping with the spirit of the Right to Know law (RSA 91:A), which states: “Openness of the conduct of public business is essential to a democratic society.”

DEFEATED

Selectmen File Objection to Motion for Attorney’s Fees and Remedial Training

Richard Sager, attorney
Richard Sager
Photo credit: sagerhaskell.com

Richard Sager, attorney for the Tuftonboro Board of Selectmen, has filed an Objection in Carroll County Superior Court in the matter of Town of Tuftonboro v. Maxim A.A.L. Blowen-Ledoux & Robert McWhirter.

Through Sager, the selectmen are averring that they should not have to pay our “reasonable attorney’s fees,” should they lose, because their suit is not a Right to Know lawsuit, and “thus, there is no ‘lawsuit … necessary in order to  make the information available’ to  the defendants.”

The selectmen also claim in their Objection that it “isn’t clear if or when a complaint would be filed by either of these defendants.” They make this claim now even though just two months ago they justified their lawsuit against us by claiming in their original Complaint that “it is also apparent that the Town would be sued by one or both of defendants if the Town continued to refuse to provide redacted emails for no charge.”

The selectmen — Carolyn Sundquist, Lloyd Wood, and Bill Marcussen — sued Bob and me late last year in a preemptive attempt thwart our Constitutional and statutory Rights to inspect governmental records.

Now they claim, of us, “if they were planning to take a proactive approach, they should have done so before the Town filed this action.” Of course, the reason that we have not sued them is that they sued us.

Furthermore, no legal action would have been necessary had they simply complied with RSA 91-A:4(IV): “Each public body or agency shall, upon request for any governmental record reasonably described, make available for inspection and copying any such governmental record within its files when such records are immediately available for such release. … No fee shall be charged for the inspection or delivery, without copying, of governmental records, whether in paper, electronic, or other form.”

Instead, they took the unprecedented step of suing us. They sought to force us into Court just four days before Christmas. However, we filed a Motion to Continue, which was granted by Judge Fauver, and the hearing was rescheduled to January 27.

On January 23, four days before the hearing, we filed an Answer to the selectmen’s Complaint. We could have dropped the Answer in Sager’s lap in court. Instead, we were courteous and provided it to him in advance. He then filed his own Motion to Continue, which we assented to through our attorney. The hearing is now scheduled for February 22, at 1PM.

After filing his Motion to Continue, however, Sager then took to Facebook to claim that our Answer was late because it was “required to be filed on December 21.” This is simply false.

However, when I asked Sager to correct his obviously wrong claim, he instead doubled down, writing “the document entitled ‘Summons – Hearing Scheduled’ served on both Mr. Ledoux and Mr. McWhirter states, in pertinent part, ‘The Court ORDERS that ON OR BEFORE: … December 21, 2016 …Maxim Blowen-Ledoux, A.A L.; Robert McWhirter shall file an Appearance and Answer or other response with this Court. A copy of the Appearance and Answer or other response must be sent to the party listed below and any other party who has filed an Appearance in this matter.’ It’s part of the public record. I am not making this up.”

Sager might not be making that up, but he is ignoring the clear meaning of “Appearance and Answer or other response.”

Our attorney filed an Appearance and a Motion to Continue on December 15, 2016. The Motion to Continue, which Sager assented to, was our “other response.” In the Motion to Continue, our attorney wrote “Defendants plan to address the Town’s Complaint in a responsive pleading, or memorandum of law, and more time is needed to conduct research and prepare the same.

It strains credulity to think that the court would grant a Motion to Continue, and reschedule the hearing, but require the Answer to be filed by the original court date. What would be the point of postponing the trial, in that event?

Who knows. Sager wrote, “The deadline for filing an Answer has always been December 21. It was never modified by the court. I didn’t push the issue out of courtesy to your attorney, knowing he needed time to get up to speed.” He then added that he was “regretting that decision now”

Sager even alludes to his theory in the introduction to the Objection: “Rather than object to both the Answer and the Motion as being non-compliant with superior court rules in various aspects, the Town seeks instead to respond to the imbedded Motion on its merits.” (Emphasis added.) However, since he has no actual proof that our Answer was late or in violation of superior court rules, he offers none.

Later in the Objection, Sager misinterprets Paragraph 72 in our Answer. He seems to be under the impression that we were claiming the Superior Court found in Sawyer v. Sundquist that the selectmen “knew or should have known” that they were breaking the law.

That is not what we wrote, and a clear reading of Paragraph 72 makes that obvious. In fact, our attorney cited the ATV Watch case at the end of the paragraph, not Sawyer. The point we were making, apparently lost on Sager, is that since the Superior Court ruled the selectmen had violated RSA 91-A multiple times in Sawyer, the selectmen “should have known” that they were violating the law when they attempted to illegally charge me a fee to inspect a governmental record.

Sawyer was less than a year before the selectmen attempted to charge me, and two of the current selectmen — Carolyn Sundquist and Lloyd Wood, were on the board when Sawyer was decided against them.

Given Sager’s muddied view of RSA 91-A and superior court rules, it’s no wonder that the selectmen, with his advice, embarked on such an egregious abuse of power as to sue citizens in an attempt to avoid their obligation under the state constitution and law.

It is my opinion as a tax payer in Tuftonboro that our town is not served well by Sager’s legal advice and that we would do well as a town to fire him. Of course, the selectmen are the ones who decide who to hire as their attorney (even though his $175 an hour fee is paid with tax payer money).

Selectmen’s Meeting for October 17, 2016

Present were Guy Pike, Joe Kowalski, Elissa Paquette, Carla Lootens, Betsy Frago, Christie Sarles, Adam Thompson, Andy Shagoury, and Gordon Hunt.

Minutes from previous the meeting were approved with minor corrections.

Chief Thompson presented fire department statistics highlighted by his arriving on crutches with a broken Achilles’ tendon acquired while off duty. He will be on light duty for eight weeks.

Chief Shagoury encountered computer issues and was unable to give a police statistics update. He did, however, announce a drug take-back day at the transfer station on October 22 from 10am-2pm.

Gordon Hunt and Christie Sarles presented the proposed library budget for 2017. Total budget $204,502 from $199,492. Approved by Selectmen 3-0.

Executive salaries were approved at $95,819 with a 2-1 vote. Selectman Lloyd P. Wood moved to add $1000 to the overtime line since our secretaries had so much extra work. Carolyn Sundquist disagreed as the work was in their job descriptions. She lost. 2016 budget was $87,970.

The Town’s insurance budget was approved at $60,916. This is up about $18,000 since the refunding of over charges has expired.

The Lang’s Pond Road project is almost done and looks good.

A letter is being sent to the Steinmans (the people who had the stones placed in the Town’s right of way on Brown Road). Discussion revealed that the Road Agent has concerns with being able to keep the road open!

Public input was interesting. Guy Pike referred to selectman’s chair Carolyn Sundquist’s statement questioning what the public might say that would change the Budget Committee members’s minds on votes? He commented that Max Ledoux’s questioning of the board of selectmen’s authority to sell property had apparently resulted in the board changing their mind. Carolyn Sundquist replied that “that was taken out of context.” (Watch the full video and decide for yourself if there’s sufficient context.) Guy Pike then suggested that before the board consulted with Attorney Sager in the future they should seek legal advice! Blank stares followed.

Elissa Paquette asked about the Selectmen’s being restricted in the selling of town-owned properties. Carolyn Sundquist responded that the 2003 Town Meeting was presented with a warrant article to rescind a former vote to give the selectmen pertpetual authority to sell and it passed. Elissa asked who the selectmen were at that time. Carolyn replied Susan Weeks, Rick Chellman, and Bill Stockman. Carolyn also said she didn’t know why the then-selectmen put the warrant article before the town!

Those are the highlights. Administrative secretary Karen Koch’s excellent minutes will chronicle the mundane details.

Selectmen Cancel Auction of Town-Owned Property

The selectmen have called off the planned October 15, 2016, auction of town-owned property because they do not currently have the authority to sell tax-deeded properties, and therefore the auction would be illegal. Only the legislative body of a municipality (i.e. Town Meeting) can authorize the selectmen to sell such property, through a warrant article.

The New Hampshire Municipal Association web site states:

The governing body only has authority to sell if the legislative body (usually the town meeting) has given them this authority by passing a warrant article in accordance with RSA 80:42 or RSA 80:80.

The authorization expires after one year, unless the warrant article states plainly that the authorization is granted “indefinitely, until rescinded.”

Karen Koch, the administrative secretary, explained in an email to me this morning:

The Selectmen were given authority in 1994 at Town Meeting. The Selectmen now have learned since your inquiry that this authority was voted in 2003 to be put as a yearly vote instead effective 2004.

The last yearly vote was done at the 2004 Town meeting with their authority extended until the 2005 Town Meeting. Unfortunately there were no yearly votes after this to extend the authority.

The auction has been postponed until after the 2017 Town Meeting. The date of which will be set depending upon the outcome of the meeting.

This is the third time this year that the selectmen have placed the town in legal jeopardy by not being mindful to follow the law. They previously broke state law by usurping the cemetery trustee’s power to authorize payments for cemetery maintenance. They also engaged in the unconstitutional practice of viewpoint discrimination by allowing questions from Elissa Paquette but no one else.

The selectmen previously have refused to answer questions about the auction:

If the board of selectmen have sold any tax-deeded properties without authorization in the past 11 years, the validity of those sales would be called into question. Anyone who has purchased a tax-deeded property from the town since 2005 might want to seek legal advice.

It’s strange that the selectmen did not do the basic due diligence to make sure that the auction was legal. They could have asked their attorney, Rick Sager, to confirm the legality of the auction. In addition to being the selectmen’s attorney, Sager was the auctioneer that they hired to conduct the auction, from which he would earn a commission on the sale of the properties. This conflict of interest was first raised by Bob McWhirter on June 6th, but the selectmen rejected his concern out of hand. When he asked if they thought it was a conflict of interest to use the selectmen’s own attorney as an auctioneer, Carolyn Sundquist, the chairman of the board, immediately said, “No.”

You can read the minutes from the Town Meetings of 1994, 2003, and 2004.

Selectmen Have No Answer for Questions About Property Auction

The selectmen are conducting an auction on October 15, 2016, to sell town-owned properties. The auction is being conducted by Rick Sager, their attorney. Sager will be receiving a commission on the sales. It’s possible that, as the selectmen’s attorney, Sager might advise the selectmen, either in the past or the future, on which properties to seize for non-payment of property taxes.

The selectmen are refusing to come clean about when and how they determined the final list of properties to be sold at the auction. The meeting minutes do not show any recorded vote, according to town resident Sue Weeks, who raised concerns at last week’s selectmen’s meeting that two of the properties are on roads that aren’t currently maintained. Her concern is that if the properties are sold and developed, the town will be required to maintain the roads, and in the long run the cost will far outweigh any benefit that the town will get from either the sale at auction or the property taxes.

Selectmen Meet with Rick Sager about Auctioning of Town Property

Rick Sager is the town of Tuftonboro’s attorney. The board of selectmen (Chair Carolyn Sundquist, Lloyd Wood, and Bill Marcussen) met with him on June 6, 2016, to discuss whether to also use his services as an auctioneer to sell properties that the town owns due tax deeding (i.e. the previous owners failed to pay property taxes). During public comment afterward, Bob McWhirter asked if the selectmen thought it might be a conflict of interest for Rick Sager to both be the attorney for the town as well as the auctioneer who then sells the properties. Carolyn Sundquist said that no, it is not a conflict of interest.

[Post updated: See Bob McWhirter’s comment below.]