An article from the Ridgefield Press shows how a local community is forced to send four houses, a vacant lot, and two commercial properties to the auction block later this month due to delinquent taxes.
“Nobody loses their home right away, no matter what,” said Tax Collector Jane Berendsen Hill. After a property is auctioned off at the sale, the owner has six months to redeem the property and will not be evicted during that time.
One of the homeowners is 79 year old Calivin Waterbury, who owes $52,00 in back taxes on the home he has lived in since 1976. According to the article, Waterbury believed he was on a tax deferment.
“I’m trying to get a reverse mortgage now so I can pay — that’s just another bunch of vultures,” Mr. Waterbury said of the process. He believes he has been mistreated by the tax collector and assessors office.
“I believe the tax assessor and tax collector departments need an overhauling and new personnel,” sais Waterbury. He has lived in town for about half a century and never expected the town to hold a tax sale and sell-off homes belonging to senior citizens.
“I never wanted to leave Ridgefield but now I’m starting to think about,” Waterbury said. “The Ridgefield of today is not the Ridgefield of old. They [tax offices] are definitely not being kind to senior citizens.”
The Assessor’s office called Waterbury three times last spring and early summer to remind him to file for his deferment but he did not return the calls, Tax Assessor Al Garzi said.