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Forest Road Neighbors Get a Stay on When to Pay

Forest Road homeowners and one on Cedar Terrace will not have to start payment right away for their share of a water main installation and lateral hook ups dating back seven years.

Fifteen property owners living on Forest Road and Cedar Terrace have gotten a stay on paying $11,830 a piece over 10 years at five percent annual interest for a water main extension into their neighborhood seven years ago. Town Council members first want a breakdown of the bills, which may lead to reductions across the board.

On Monday night, the council voted unanimously for a stay on paying a $1,500 lump sum that would have been due on March 31. However, Tax Collector Manny Cambra said special assessment liens will still be placed on the properties on April 1, with the exception of any who decide to pay off the whole amount sooner.

If someone pays the entire amount and it is later determined that the bill should be lower, Cambra said the homeowner would be reimbursed for the difference.

Unlike a tax lien, Cambra said a special assessment lien does not have an adverse effect on one's credit rating. A tax lien also does not allow people to take out a reverse mortgage and Cambra thinks that is not the case for a special assessment lien.

The liens will be used as a placeholder to protect the town in its effort to collect payment from the agreement between the Town Council and the neighbors. For seven years, the town had failed to bill them for the work done by Aquarion Water Co.

Town Attorney Jack Fracassani said the town paid two paving companies $82,963 and that Aquarian returned $44,331 to the town for paving and $3,840 for lateral hook ups. Rather than having the water company patch the road during its work, the town had decided to re-pave the road at the same time.

Fracassini will contact the two paving companies and figure out if any of the work had to do with the water main and will talk to former public works director Art Baker. He said he will have all of the payment information within two to three days.

A meeting will be scheduled between First Selectman Steve Vavrek, the neighbors and other town officials sometime in April to discuss the final figures.

If the numbers are different, Cambra said he will remove the liens and replace them with new assessment liens reflecting the more accurate numbers.

Neighbors attending the Town Council meeting said they do not oppose the liens, but want the town to hold off on them until there is agreement on the amount they will owe the town.

Town Councilman Frank Lieto made the motion to grant the neighbors a stay on payments and interest penalties until the numbers are firmed up, and it was amended to direct the tax collector to send letters to the residents saying that no payments are owed until the Town Council takes further action.

It passed unanimously.

Prior to the vote, Town Councilman Nick Kapoor made a motion to rescind a council motion from Feb. 13 instructing the tax collector to bill the residents and to place liens on their properties. Kapoor said he believed the process had been rushed and wanted to work with the neighbors on exactly what is owed first.

Councilman Tony Unger argued that Cambra had already taken action on the Feb. 13 motion when he sent out letters on Feb. 29 billing them and starting the clock on the placing of the liens.

Kapoor's motion was defeated by a vote of 6-3, with only fellow Democrats Dee Dee Martin and Raymond Knapp siding with Kapoor.

QWERTY March 27, 2012 at 07:24 PM
What about the homes that were already sold after the installation? That seems to be the most intriguing aspect of this incident.
Thesaurus March 27, 2012 at 08:12 PM
The town has no claim to those properties (sold after the installation) and it will lose if if it pursues them. Will be open for a huge lawsuit and the taxpayers expense.
New Homeowner March 27, 2012 at 08:31 PM
The town is placing a lien on our property, purchased years after the work was done. We are pursuing legal recourse.
Christine E. March 27, 2012 at 09:22 PM
Are you pursuing any legal options towards the previous homeowners? Just wondering.
monroe taxpayer March 27, 2012 at 10:23 PM
I agree the new homeowners should not be responsible for an agreement and or mistake in which they were never involved in. And again the taxpayers of this town deserve to know who and how this error first happened and how it went unnoticed for several years?? It appears this mess has caused the town several years of interest and the new home owners to be totally blindsided. It seem some of our employees / elected officials are willing to hold the new home owners responsible who should not be, but wish to excuse and ignore fellow employees and the system that caused this mess. What happened to professionalism and responsibility to the taxpayers?
Walt March 27, 2012 at 10:37 PM
Who are you, Chief Justice Roberts?
Christine E. March 27, 2012 at 10:49 PM
Walt, I realize you seem to think this situation is no big deal...but even if the town gets their money back, this isn't going to go away for a long, long time. Homeowners, new and old, are going to file plenty of lawsuits, and the town/taxpayers will be out thousands in legal fees. This minor 'clerical error' has big consequences.
Walt March 27, 2012 at 11:32 PM
I really don't want to do this all over again. Did you read the article? There is going to be a meeting set up with all involved parties at which time all the information will be available and the town will probably end up eating most of the cost to appease them and people that think like you about this issue. Suffice it to say that if someone who requested the town to help them have water at their house, and the town did that, if those same people file "plenty of lawsuits" then I hope that the town vigorously defends their position and spares no expense of your tax dollar to make sure that they pay every last dime with interest.
Christine E. March 28, 2012 at 12:36 AM
Walt, See, here's the problem. This isn't just about reimbursement for services rendered. While they may not have to pay the town in the end, New Homeowners have still had to hire lawyers to defend themselves, lawyers to go after previous property owners, and endure a lot of stress for a situation they aren't responsible for. None of this is 'free'. They will end up suing the town to get reimbursed for their 'pain and suffering', as well as reimbursement for the thousands and thousands of dollars of legal fee's they have to pay to make sure they're protected - all courtesy of the Town of Monroe's clerical incompetence. Meeting or no meeting, this situation isn't going away any time soon. It's crazy how nonchalant you are about the whole thing.
QWERTY March 28, 2012 at 03:49 AM
That's what I find most disturbing. If this does eventually cost the taxpayer's money, we deserve an explanation. "Lets look to the future" should only apply until a resolution is agreed upon, after that, I'm looking to the past to see why this happened! I think that's a reasonable plan but I have little confidence the town will put forth an explanation.
Walt March 28, 2012 at 11:39 AM
@Christine E - this has been beaten to death and this is the last time I'll post regarding the issue. Why don't they have the meeting first and see how this all works out. I'm sure that the town will absorb some of the costs. However, you said "Homeowners, new and old, are going to file plenty of lawsuits" now you backtrack on the last post and leave out the old homeowners from the equation. I'll say it again, if the people helped by the town file "plenty of lawsuits" then I hope that the town vigorously defends their position and spares no expense of your tax dollar to make sure that they pay every last dime with interest. If all involved work towards an amicable solution rather than immediately running to hire a lawyer and sue for some imaginary "pain and suffering" this story would be history. Remember Shakespeares line form Henry the Sixth? But then again, there are those that want their pound of flesh due to their hatred of government and taxes so I'm sure this is not the last I'll hear of it, but I'm moving on.
Thesaurus March 28, 2012 at 01:58 PM
The town will absorb all of this or shall I say the taxpayers because the "statute of limitation has passed. If the homeowners agree to pay, it will be at their discretion. This is a municipal blunder of the biggest and I suspect there are a lot of employees (past and present) who participated and that is why the administration is holding the blame citation "close to the chest." The town cannot lien the new homeowners and should remove those liens immediately. The tax collector should have known that. The town attorney should have known that.
Christine E. March 28, 2012 at 02:47 PM
Walt, it's funny how you say you don't want to comment on the subject, but you re-opened the can of worms immediately after you made a snide 'chief justice' comment towards Thesaurus. The point: There will be lawsuits. The result: It will cost a lot of money. Even if the town 'defends itself vigorously'. The town wouldn't have to defend itself if it never screwed up in the first place.
tommy c March 28, 2012 at 03:58 PM
Apparently if there is a "clerical error" in Monroe, that last several years ,they cover it up by blaming the residents and refusing to make the investigation public?. So it seems we have one embarrassment after another after another??? This mess clearly show just how mismanaged this town has been and continue to be. What happened to owning up to your mistakes? What does all of this poor reasoning by so many officials say about how our tax dollars are being spent and the future of our town ??
Christine E. March 28, 2012 at 04:11 PM
tommy c - You end every sentence in a question mark. Looks like someone else we know - 'Monroe Taxpayer'. Same person? Just curious.
monroe taxpayer March 28, 2012 at 05:49 PM
Christine E You should know by now that if I had something to say I would. Why would I go through the trouble? Although, I must admit I do agree with some of what tommy c does say. I noticed you use a question mark, how do I know your not tommy c :) ???
jim laguardia March 28, 2012 at 05:56 PM
Wow christine who always protects fake names is trying to "out" someone on the patch?? and yes the use of ?? was on purpose
Christine E. March 28, 2012 at 05:58 PM
lol, I was just messing around, but apparently Jim has his panties in a bunch :)
jim laguardia March 28, 2012 at 06:03 PM
nope, going commando.... and there is an image that is not easily blocked from the mind
Thesaurus March 28, 2012 at 06:25 PM
tommy c-even more serious is the fact that for years up to 2008 or 09, at lease one of those homeowners appeared at the town hall and inquired as to the whereabouts of the billing. And the town employee neglected to look into it. Now, if that employee is still employed he or she should not be. And, if it is an elected person, the taxpayers have a right to be told so that he or she is never elected again.
Christine E. March 28, 2012 at 06:27 PM
hahaha truer words have never been spoken.
QWERTY March 28, 2012 at 06:32 PM
Makes me wonder if I should really bother filing those permits. If the town doesn't care about recouping $11K, how can they be concerned with my paltry $50?
monroe taxpayer March 28, 2012 at 07:23 PM
I agree, there are lots of unanswered questions marks here? See what you started Christine. :) Thesaurus brings up a good points there are employees that are still here and there was no oversight, for this to go unnoticed for so long. And why when ask about this debt was it ignored by the so many different offices involved? This entire mess is one issue and now the response to by so many offices, makes even less sense?
Thesaurus March 28, 2012 at 07:26 PM
And, the budget is in the hands of these incompetent individuals.If for no other reason, vote NO for lack of accountability and transparency.

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