In the past week, there has been a flurry of phone calls from Mason Station LLC to the Wiscasset town office, Town Manager Marian Anderson said at the Wiscasset Board of Selectmen’s Tuesday, Dec. 20 meeting.
Wiscasset still has not received a payment, but the developer has promised to mail a check by the end of the week to prevent foreclosure on some or all of the six Mason Station lots that remain under the ownership of Mason Station LLC, which include the former Mason Station plant, Anderson said.
While the outstanding taxes on the lots total about $312,000, Mason Station LLC would only need to pay the liens through the 2014 tax year to prevent foreclosure, which are $138,000 for the plant and $17,000 for the surrounding lots, Wiscasset Treasurer Shari Fredette said.
The foreclosure notice will mature Thursday, Dec. 29, Anderson said. It is unclear which lots Mason Station LLC intends to make tax payments on, she said.
Joe Cotter, of Mason Station LLC, recently sent a letter to selectmen requesting a meeting to discuss a new development proposal for the property, which would involve transforming it into a marijuana tourist destination.
Wiscasset had been involved in a protracted legal battle with Mason Station LLC over back taxes on the property, which culminated in a 2015 Maine Supreme Judicial Court decision. The decision affirmed that Mason Station LLC owes the town about $840,000 in back taxes, most of which remains outstanding.
The judgment also affirmed town ownership of the foreclosed lots in Mason Station LLC’s 85-lot subdivision. Wiscasset has already foreclosed on the majority of lots in the Mason Station subdivision; however, the town purposefully avoided foreclosing on the Mason Station plant and five surrounding lots out of concern about the environmental cleanup the properties would need.
In September, selectmen voted to move forward with foreclosure on the properties. Several developers have expressed interest in the lots, according to town officials.
In other business, selectmen are working to collect outstanding sewer fees from Murray Hill Properties, which operates an apartment complex in Wiscasset. As of February, Murray Hill Properties owed $18,657 in outstanding sewer fees and had not made a payment since 2013, according to town documents.
Wiscasset recently filed a lawsuit against the company to collect the outstanding amount. After an executive session with town attorney Shana Mueller to discuss a payment plan proposed by the company, selectmen voted to present Murray Hill Properties with a counter-offer.
Wiscasset will accept the payment plan if it is recorded as a consent judgment in district court. The town would be able to collect on the full amount if Murray Hill Properties misses any payments, according to the counter-offer.
Selectmen will conduct interviews in January with firms that have submitted bids to become Wiscasset’s next town auditor. As the audit for the 2015-2016 fiscal year is still not complete, selectmen reached a consensus that they would not include their current auditor, RHR Smith, in the interview process.