I wish I could tell you that because the Town was not diligent in getting current addresses for property owners, that you would not have to pay the taxes, but I would be misrepresenting what is actually done and it would be unethical to mislead you into a false sense of security. However, I can offer you reasonable arguments for removing the interest, penalties, and any other fees they have added into the tax bills and you can present these arguments to the Town Attorney during your meeting.
1. The Town was remiss in not checking the public records for current ownership of the lots and had they done so, they would have seen that your dad conveyed the properties to you and they had your address;
2. You attempted to correct their Tax records several times by going there in person, starting with 2006 or 2007 by giving them the correct information as to ownership, yet they still failed to correct their records;
3. When the Tax Collector's Office received the tax bills returned to them, they should have realized that they were sending the bills to a wrong address, but they still did nothing to check their records to determine the owner of the properties, or if ownership had been transferred;
4. Presenting a bill that is almost double the actual amount of the taxes and expecting immediate payment is unconscionable;
You should also say that under the circumstances, you should be given a reasonable amount of time to pay and the Town should agree to enter into an Installment Payment Agreement. This type of Agreement is very common between Tax Collectors and property owners. Think of the amount of time that you will need to pay the taxes without the penalty, interest and other fees and set a number in terms of years which you will be comfortable with and present that during your meeting.
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