Every tax is a pay cut.  Every tax cut is a pay raise.
Citizens for Limited Taxation

I'm surprised that I haven't seen Framingham's latest folly in our local newspaper.  The Town was in the process of repossessing two duplex houses on McClaughlin St. (for back taxes) just behind the Dunkin Doughnuts on Rt9.  The houses were boarded up an all the services were supposed to be shut off.  Well, apparently the Town forgot to notify the Water Dept and guess what, the pipes froze.  Unfortunately the town didn't find the snafu right away, in fact it was about a months time before they realized what happened.  Needless to say both houses were very seriously damaged.  Here's were the story gets interesting.  The Town also forgot to put the homes on their insurance binder so the damage isn't covered.  Here's the best part, the owner prior to the flooding had taken the Town to court and the courts have awarded him his house's back.  How much do you think this is going to cost the Town?

Your Concerned Resident

Seized homes suffer major water damage: Framingham took duplexes for back taxes Tuesday, March 4, 2003
D. Craig MacCormack Metrowest Daily News
FRAMINGHAM -- Extensive water damage to a pair of McLaughlin Street homes shouldn't have any effect on two court cases involving the duplexes, Town Manager George King said yesterday.

The town repossessed 4 and 6 McLaughlin St. about a year and a half ago because the owners owed $200,000 in back taxes, King said.  The status of the homes is in the hands of bankruptcy and land courts, he said.

The water damage, which King called "significant," came during a cold snap last month and was probably the result of no one telling the town Water Department to turn off the water in the boarded-up homes.

"I don't expect anybody will have to pay for the water damage," said King.  "I don't think it's going to affect the price or the disbursement of the homes."

King expects the properties -- each assessed at $178,400 -- will eventually be turned over to a third party, he said, and the town will recoup some or all of the delinquent tax money.

The new owner would be responsible for repairs, King said.

"The damage was significant before and after the pipes froze," he said.  "The house had to be rehabbed anyway, and that won't change as a result of having water damage."

Taxes overdue date back seven or eight years, King said.  No town employees were disciplined over the burst pipes, he said.

Neither Building Inspector Joe Mikielian nor Buildings Services Department Director James Egan could be reached for comment yesterday.

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