Wednesday evening, West Tisbury selectmen authorized town administrator Jennifer Rand to affix padlocks to a State Road property the town gained through tax delinquency foreclosure proceedings. The board had previously given the owner 30 days to correct the tax default before the town moved to secure the property. Legally the former owner has an entire year to pay what is owned and regain the property, town counsel Ron Rappaport told the board in December.
“I’ve had phone calls from two different parties sort of asking what’s owed and, you know, wanting to possibly help this person,” treasurer and collector Kathy Logue told the board. “But that has not resulted in any money, and I have explained that, legally, when you’re at this phase, you can’t pay somebody else’s taxes.”
Rand said there are still many months until West Tisbury has clear title: “However, now that this 30-day window, which was somewhat arbitrary, has closed, the town has some responsibilities that I would like to move forward on.”
Rand said there was a legal process to begin securing the premises, and also a less formal one. Simply writing a letter to ask permission, which is what Rand preferred going with, is the less formal one.
Should the letter get an appropriate response from the former owner, Rand said she wished to secure all doors with locks “including the barn, the house, and the camper.”
“I also would like to, on the house, because so many windows are broken, I would like to on the interior, not the exterior, board them up,” Rand added.
She also said West Tisbury Fire Chief Manuel Estrella III expressed concern about the propane tanks at the property, and would like to see them removed.
She said she has no plans to clean up the property, just secure it as she outlined.
Selectman Skipper Manter said he did not support boarding the windows because it might conceal human activity — trespassers — inside.
Rand said if the doors were padlocked and the windows boarded, she couldn’t fathom how someone would gain entry “short of burrowing in from the basement.”
Manter wasn’t swayed.
Logue suggested at least plastic be put up to keep the weather out.
Manter saw merit in plastic, and said it would also help reveal a light on inside, should somebody get inside.
Rand suggested Plexiglas, but Manter said it was too costly.
The subject closed out without the the type of plastic that will cover the windows being identified.