Dear Danica Lamontagne,
I am writing to formally request Biddeford’s records under the Maine Freedom of Access Act (M.R.S.A. Title 1, Chapter 13). I am requesting a list of tax foreclosed properties with: 1. parcel numbers, 2. unpaid taxes, interest, fees, etc., 3. sale price, and 4. information about how much money was returned to the previous owner after tax sales, if any, for all properties that have gone through a tax lien foreclosure process between January 2014 and today.
Specifically we are looking for:
1) tax lien certificates and tax lien discharges created pursuant to 36 ME ST 942 and 943;
2) records of auctions held pursuant to 36 ME ST 1074;
3) deeds delivered pursuant to 36 ME ST 1080.
I would like to receive the information in electronic format. If you do not maintain these in electronic format, please provide a sample of the format these are maintained in before fulfilling the request.
I am requesting a fee waiver. Pacific Legal Foundation is a 501(c)(3) that provides information to the public. The information will not be used for commercial purposes. Disclosure of the public information will contribute significantly to the public understanding of the operations or activities of the government.
I am willing to pay fees for this request up to $50. If you estimate that the fees will be greater, please inform me first. In addition, if the request will take longer than the time allowed by the law, please provide a date when you expect to be able to send the records.
This request should be considered severable. If you deny any or all of this request, please cite each specific exemption for your refusal to release the information and notify me of the appeal procedures available to me under the law.
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me at NMalhotra@pacificlegal.org or 973-908-9905.
Niko Malhotra | Strategic Research Intern
Pacific Legal Foundation
3100 Clarendon Blvd. Suite 610 | Arlington, VA 22201
Request for Clarification
Good afternoon Niko,
This email is to acknowledge your Freedom of Access Act request dated August 5, 2021.
The City, by policy, does not waive fees for FOAA requests. Under Maine law, the first hour of work is free. You will be charged $15.00 per hour for the actual hours required to fulfill your request in excess of the first hour.
Based on an initial review of you request it is believed that the time involved will be extensive. That being said, you may wish to modify certain aspects of your request to reduce the time involved in order to obtain the specific information you are seeking.
The City does not have copies of liens, discharges and deeds in an electronic format. We file about 300 real estate liens a year, so the scanning process for this quantity of documents going back to January 2014 will likely mean that your request will exceed the $50 maximum fee that you have expressed that you are willing to pay.
Our staff recommended, in order to limit fees associated with your request, to consider searching for the information you are looking for via the York County Maine Registry of Deeds search site: https://www.yorkcountymaine.gov/registry-of-deed-splash. There is no fee associated with using this site unless you print more than 500 pages from their site; at that point, there is a $0.50 fee associated with each page you print.
If you would like to proceed with this portion of the request through the City, I will work with staff to determine a more precise estimate of how long it will take to complete the work.
The City can provide you an electronic lien/foreclosure list that includes the property address, parcel number, and amount of tax, interest and fees owed by year. This report would take less than an hour to produce and could be provided to you at no charge.
Additionally, we do not have any records associated with auctions of properties within the time frame you requested as the City has not taken any homes, businesses or rental units during that time.
Please let us know how you would like to proceed with your request.
City of Biddeford
Thank you for your response. I want to clarify the nature of my request. I am solely looking for a list of foreclosures that were not redeemed and resulted in a tax sale from January 2014 to today, not all liens during that period. Specifically, the parcel numbers, name(s) of the previous property owner, the unpaid taxes/fees of the property owner, the value at which Biddeford sold the property, sale date, and the excess funds (if any) which Biddeford kept from the sale of the foreclosed property.
You mentioned that Biddeford has not taken any properties from January 2014 to now. Does that mean Biddeford has not redeemed any foreclosed properties and had any tax sales during this time period? If this is the case, I would only need the tax lien/foreclosure list that you offered to provide free of charge.
Biddeford has not had any tax sales since January 2014. I have attached the tax lien/foreclosure list to this email.