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Pittsfield Sells $875K Worth of Tax Liens

By Andy McKeeveriBerkshires Staff
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PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The tax lien auction brought in another $875,000, adding to about $800,000 the city had taken in ahead of time in back taxes.
According to Director of Finance Matthew Kerwood, 61 liens were sold by Strategic Auction Alliance at City Hall on Thursday afternoon accounting for $875,770.61.
The biggest buyer was Boston-based Tallage Davis LLC that purchased 22 liens for a price of $239,682.54. Dover-based Lewis Morse LLC purchased 13 liens for the price of $257,784.07. And Philadelphia-based Tower DB VIIII Trust purchased 16 liens at the price of $222,137.66.
In total there were 12 bidders in the auction, including a handful of local residents bidding on one or two liens each. A total of 201 liens were placed on the auction block. 
The auction sold the liens the city had placed on properties for back taxes. The winning bidders purchased the right to take over collections on those liens and, if continued nonpayment occurs, the right to foreclose on the property. The city sees the auction as a way to recoup some of what is owed without having to go through the lengthy tax taking process.
The city sent a notification to close to 500 property owners with liens informing them about the auction. As of Wednesday, 86 of the liens were paid in full while 70 other properties were placed into payment plans. Prior to the auction more than $800,000 in back taxes were paid and the city is in line to see an additional $115,000 per month because of the new payment plans.
Prior to the auction, the city was owed $6.8 million in principal for back taxes and about $5.7 million in interest. The auction reeled in about $1.7 million — or about 25 percent of the principal owed on those liens. 
The money generated from the sale goes to the city's general fund.

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Pittsfield Schools to Begin Non-Renewal Recalls

By Jack GuerinoiBerkshires Staff
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The Pittsfield Public Schools will begin recalling staff given non-renewal notices now that a budget is in place. 
Superintendent Jason McCandless told the School Committee last week that there will be recalls of some of the 140 nonrenewal notices sent out prior to the passage of the $64 million budget.
"We will let them know their jobs are back and we look forward to having them with us," McCandless said.
Without a firm Chapter 70 education aid number to build a budget around, the city passed an education budget that relied on at least level state aid.
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