The scene at Steuben's annual Town Meeting last Saturday. ELLSWORTH AMERICAN PHOTO BY MAXWELL HAUPTMAN

Tax-acquired properties discussed at Steuben Town Meeting

STEUBEN — Anyone in search of dramatics would have been sorely disappointed with Steuben’s annual Town Meeting.

The 50 or so people who gathered last Saturday at the Ella Lewis School approved all 41 articles on the warrant without a single dissenting vote.

Selectman Jim Kovacs was re-elected with 23 votes while Donna Picard, also running for the position, received 19.

The Board of Selectmen approved a municipal budget of $1,035,244, of which $850,644 will come from taxes raised. That represents an increase of $13,742.27 from last year.

The matter that received the most discussion was how to manage the town disposing of tax-acquired properties. At a special town meeting last July, the selectmen voted to develop a 90-acre subdivision that had been taken over by the town.

While an article authorizing the board to dispose of tax-acquired properties in a manner that it deemed to be in the best interest of the town was approved, there was some debate from the audience about how that would be handled.

Board of Selectmen Chairman Christopher Bell assured those in attendance that the process would be transparent and not incentivize the town to quickly seize property. Bell said that some of the 90-acre subdivision already acquired would be used as a park and boat launch for the town.

He reiterated that the land in question was to be developed as affordable housing lots to attract young families to settle in Steuben and help grow the community.

The article was eventually amended to note that the selectmen would adopt written criteria for each future instance of the town disposing of tax-acquired property.

Maxwell Hauptman

Maxwell Hauptman

Reporter at The Ellsworth American
Maxwell Hauptman has been reporting for The Ellsworth American since 2018. He covers eastern Hancock and western Washington counties and welcomes story tips and ideas. He can be reached at [email protected]

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