These are the facts.
1. In 2010, my administration inherited the "mess" of over $4 million in unpaid taxes, some dating back to the 1970s. Through the hard work of many Town employees, over $2 million was collected (along with interest and penalties that helped build the fund balance) and steps were taken, during 2010 and 2011, to collect on remaining $2 million from 2009 and earlier. One lesson was learned; if you don't ask, some people don't pay.
2. If anyone had been "minding the store" between Jan-May and followed proper procedures,the Town could have taken title to the 17 parcels and declared them tax exempt BEFORE June 1 and there would have been NO need to file grievance applications. Mr. Grace was apprised of the tax situation in December, before he took office, and was reminded again about the issue in February. He just had to make sure that the paperwork was completed in a timely fashion.
3. As for the "ugliness" of taking people's property, many of the vacant parcels on the 2008 foreclosure list were abandoned by the owners years ago. And one parcel, a private swimming pool, continues to operate, even though it owes $45,763 on back taxes.