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.