News Feature

Blue Hill
Originally published in The Weekly Packet, September 17, 2020
Tax acquired properties sold at auction
Top lot hammers for $100k

Public auction of eight tax-acquired properties

A crowd gathered outside of Town Hall on Monday, September 14, to watch the opening of a public auction of eight tax-acquired properties. Bidding for Lot 1, a waterfront parcel on Toddy Pond, resulted in a winning bid of $100,000. Blue Hill Budget Committee member Scott Miller, who served as live auctioneer, closed the sale after a mere four minutes.

Photo by Benjamin Truesdale Order prints of selected PBP photos.

by Benjamin Truesdale

On Monday, September 14, eight parcels of town tax-acquired property went to public auction. All of the lots sold in the space of an hour.

“It took longer to set up the auction” than the auction itself lasted, Selectman Vaughn Leach said afterwards.

The first lot on the block was a 0.5 acre waterfront property located at 49 Sand Beach Lane on Toddy Pond; it was offered in a brief live auction held outdoors on the front steps of Town Hall. The remaining seven property lots were offered by means of “left bids” in sealed envelopes, which the members of the select board reviewed inside the town office after the live event.

A crowd of two dozen curious onlookers and bidders gathered outside, all of them practicing social distancing, watched as Budget Committee member Scott Miller commanded the rostrum for the sale of Lot 1. Nine registered bidders competed for it in real time, and it hammered for $100,000 after fewer than five minutes.

The crowd dispersed after Bidder Number 5, Curtis and Nikki Jaffray of Blue Hill, were proven the winners of Lot 1. The property had been previously valued at $76,400, but bidding opened at $10,000. This was the reserve set to fully compensate for outstanding taxes owed, as well as the costs associated with advertising and years of complex litigation with former owners.

There were no reserves on Lots 2 through 8. Lot 8 hammered the lowest of the evening at $1,100.

The total results-of-sale versus the tax indebtedness of the eight seized properties is being determined. But all three selectmen see the auction as a great success.

“We are highly pleased with the results,” said Selectman Ellen Best.

“We came out on top,” added Town Administrator Shawna Ambrose in a post-sale interview.

Ten other tax-acquired properties remain in town custody, but selectmen have not yet set a date for their auction.