Published December 30. 2012 4:00AM
Stonington - The town is preparing to put five properties up for sale, including homes appraised for more than a half million dollars in the borough and on Masons Island, because their owners have failed to pay back taxes, interest and fees.
The sale is slated for Feb. 25 at 4:30 p.m. in the first-floor meeting room in Town Hall. The winning bidders will have to pay 20 percent of the outstanding tax bill at the time of the sale and the remainder within one week of the sale.
Tax Collector Gisela Harma said Wednesday that the town is switching from foreclosing on such properties to selling them at a tax sale because it takes too long to go through the court process with a foreclosure.
In addition, a change in state law decreased from one year to six months the time after the tax sale that the original owner could reclaim their property by paying the back taxes. Until then, the money from the new owner is put into escrow. If the original owner does not pay within six months, the property goes to the winning bidder at the tax sale.
Harma, who said the town attorney has contacted the owners, said she is offering any properties whose owners owe taxes that date to 2009 or older or who owe more than $10,000. The town is not allowed to sell properties in bankruptcy proceedings.
Properties up for tax sale
1. 1 Front St., Stonington Borough, four-room house appraised at $553,000 and owned by the estate of Lisa Antinoph of Stonington. Amount owed: $30,394.
2. .21 acres of vacant land on Manor Street appraised at $83,000 and owned by J.A.V.F Enterprises of North Kingstown R.I, Jacques Faulise, principal. Amount owed: $3,302.
3. 97 Old North Road, Masons Island, nine-room house on a half acre appraised for $705,400 and owned by Norman and Robin Pettini Jr. of Mystic. Amount owed: $15,299.
4. 847 Pequot Trail, seven-room house on 3.8 acres appraised at $337,900 and owned by the estate of Lidia Raposo of Pawcatuck. Amount owned: $12,175.
5. .07 acres of vacant land on Soundview Drive, Pawcatuck, appraised at $7,900 and owned by Antonio Tropiano of Greenwich. Amount owed: $2,527.