Deerfield looks to sell surplus property

DEERFIELD — In an effort to help bolster the town’s finances, Deerfield is planning to unload a number of town-owned properties for which it has no use.

Richard Calisewski, the town’s Board of Health agent who has been tasked with identifying the properties by the Board of Selectmen, said there are currently 31 properties that have been identified throughout the town, which encompass a total of 168 acres and have a total value of around $2 million. He noted that only some of those properties would be declared surplus.

“We have multiple pieces of town property with no obvious use,” said Calisewski. “As an example, we have one grandfathered lot on Stillwater Road with no use and it’s been there for years. These are the types of properties we’re looking to get on the tax rolls.”

According to Calisewski’s records, that particular piece of land was acquired by the town in 1963.

“We’re going at it at a slow pace, to be sure that these is no use for the land,” he said of the process.

Board of Selectmen chairwoman Carolyn Shores Ness said the surplus property usually falls under the town’s ownership when people survey properties and leave behind portions that are never claimed, or when the land is taken in lieu of taxes.

According to Calisewski, most of the property has been out of sight and out of mind for years. He said the properties will be reviewed to see what, if any, use they might have for the town. If there are none, then they’ll be sold to the highest bidder.

“Over the years, we’ve accumulated so many random pieces of property or lots that have been abandoned over time,” Ness said. “There’s little slivers all over the place, so we’re going to inventory everything we can and declare surplus.”

She said two of the properties that have been identified on Stillwater Road are buildable lots.

“There’s two lots that face each other, and it doesn’t make sense for us to own buildable property or these slivers of property,” she said.

She said she hopes the sales will help shore up the town’s financial situation. Calisewski said that the average tax bill on a buildable lot is between $800 and $1,000 per year.

“We’re trying every way we can to be fiscally responsible while our budgets are so tight,” Ness said.

“This is just one more thing we’re trying to do to put land on the tax rolls.”

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