EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

May 22, 2013

Salem selectmen authorized to sell land

By Doug Ireland
direland@eagletribune.com

---- — SALEM — The town will move ahead with the sale of two unwanted properties after selectmen learned they were in no danger of violating bidding procedures.

Selectmen decided last week to hold off on authorizing Town Manager Keith Hickey to sell the land for fear of violating the town’s bid policy.

The board was concerned voter approval would be needed if bids for each site exceeded $10,000 at a public auction, according to Selectmen’s Chairman Everett McBride Jr.

Selectmen can authorize sales of property assessed at up to $10,000.

Both properties — one at 8 Dennison Ave. and the other off Brentwood Avenue — are less than an acre and assessed at less than $5,000, McBride said.

Hickey told selectmen at their meeting Monday that the town’s attorney said the land could be sold — no matter how high the bids rose.

“The board does have the authority to sell it,” Hickey said.

The properties are just two of approximately two dozen the town has been interested in selling. Hickey told selectmen last fall he wanted to put the properties back on the tax rolls to generate revenue for the town.

Properties assessed at more than $10,000 would require Town Meeting approval before they could be sold.

Some properties were donated to the town years ago, while others were seized for nonpayment of taxes. The sites on Dennison and Brentwood Avenues would be sold to abutters to extend their land.

Paul Gallo of 6 Dennison Ave. wants to buy the land at 8 Dennison Ave. The property is assessed at $4,600.

Matthew Doyle has asked to buy the Brentwood Avenue property. It is assessed at $3,200.