ADAMS -- The town fired the first volley of correspondence at the ownership of a flagging Park Street project Thursday morning.
Tax collector Holly Denault's letter to New York developer Gerry Sanchez's Polonia Architectural Restoration, owners of the Jones Block building on Park Street, informs the company of a lien that will be placed on the property if 2011 taxes are not paid in full by May 14.
"We're kind of surprised about the whole thing because we haven't had issues with them before," Denault said. "But the company is delinquent for all of 2011's taxes and yet to pay anything in 2012 and have not provided a reason."
Denault said the total figure, including what will be owed for 2012 later this year, is in the neighborhood of $20,000.
The Jones Block was purchased by New York developer Gerry Sanchez in 2007, and while the progress in plans to rehabilitate the building has been seen as disappointing by some, the company has not had tax issues with the town before now.
Some town officials and residents are incensed by the situation because the town put upwards of $1 million from 2011's Community Development Block Grant toward facade work on the exterior of the building, with the understanding that the owners would meet the investment in the middle and pay for necessary renovations inside. These renovations remain at a standstill.
In response to an inquiry from resident Jeffrey Lefebvre at a Selectmen's meeting Wednesday, Town Administrator Jonathan Butler expressed frustration with the current state of progress.
"Community development and myself are equally distressed along with you," Butler told Lefebvre. "Here it's been almost three years and the project is still a big question mark. If residents have them, they should absolutely voice their concerns."
Butler added that Selectmen's hands are tied in terms of attempting to prompt action from the company, and that the town's hand moving forward would be played by Denault.
Denault acknowledged this, saying, "they're delinquent, the ball's in my court, and it's up to me."
"The town has worked closely with Mr. Sanchez in the past, and likewise this office will work with anybody," Denault said. "So if we can find a way, we'll work with them. If not then so be it, it goes to tax title."
The lien is intended to protect the rights of town, and raises interest costs on the property to 16 percent. After a lien is issued, the town has the option to foreclose.
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