Friends pitch in to help couple hit by hard times in Boscawen
Things only got worse. The town took ownership of their double-wide trailer at 5 Corn Hill Road last month for failure to pay back taxes.
“Even though they were making their payments, they would never had been able to catch up because the interest and fees associated with their late payments were far more than their taxes were,” Burns said of the DelBenes.
Now, the DelBenes want to fix up their home so they can sell it and move closer to Burns. Burns has offered to care for Cindy, 52, who suffered a disabling head injury in May, 2012. “Her memory is not good. She can’t drive because she doesn’t remember how to get anywhere,” Burns explained.Cindy suffered a severe concussion when her porch railing collapsed and she tumbled head first to the ground. She spent three months in a hospital and rehabilitation center. As a result, Cindy no longer can work at the Concord medical facility where she was a receptionist. She is seeking to become qualified for Social Security Disability income.
It was only when he stopped at the Town Hall last month to make a payment on his back taxes that he learned the town now owned his property and the only way he could reclaim it was to pay the full three years’ in back taxes plus interest and fees. “Things were tight. I totally understand everybody should pay their taxes. The only gripe I got is .... if you are going to come down hard on me, you’ve got to come hard on everybody,” Steve DelBene said. DelBene said another property who owed far more than him was given a waiver by selectmen while his property was deeded.
Town Administrator Michael D. Wright explained the property owner in question — an elderly husband, who is disabled, and his wife — have been making consistent $400 monthly payments and sold one parcel of land to help pay off their taxes. They owe a total $14,631 dating back three years.
Selectmen waived taking the DelBene’s deed in 2009 because they had been making payments and the total due was about $380, Wright said.
“It wasn’t like he wasn’t trying. He just didn’t have the resources to make that happen,” Wright said. “To recover after a period of several months when you are already under a plan where you haven’t been paying for a while...you need to come forward with a plan that shows you’re trying to address the debt before the deeding process,” Wright said.Selectmen, he said, are willing to work with property owners in trouble, but they often don’t approach the board until they are so far behind there is little selectmen can do to help them.“These are our neighbors. We don’t want to be landlords. We don’t want property. But, at the same time, we have an obligation to other taxpayers (who do pay their taxes),” Wright said.
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