Town eyes auction for unneeded land

MERRIMACK – Town officials are organizing an auction to sell off more than a dozen properties, with an eye on using the proceeds for tax relief.

Councilors have identified 24 parcels around Merrimack that they want to shed because the land has no value or use to the town. Auctioning land to new owners would lead to increased tax revenue and eliminate liability, officials said.

Plus, Councilor Tim Tenhave added, “There’s more value in allowing our residents to use it.”

The town of Merrimack has more than 100 parcels of land. Some of them came under town possession because of a homeowner’s nonpayment of taxes, or because of a developer has left odds and ends.

For years, various town officials have collected data and tinkered with a plan to get rid of some surplus parcels. In recent months, Town Manager Keith Hickey, Councilor Nancy Harrington and Tenhave reviewed a master list and continued work from there.

Some time ago, the list of properties was cycled to a number of town committees and departments for their opinion on which parcels held any value, Tenhave said. That would include drainage easements or for flood control purposes.

Properties headed to the auction block are there because there’s no good reason to hang on to them, Tenhave said. Some parcels don’t have road access, and others are prone to holding water.

In short, bidders are encouraged to beware.

“Anything we know we’re happy to disclose, but I’m not a land expert and the town manager’s not a land expert,” Tenhave said.

“The buyer needs to do their homework on a particular parcel’s previous deeds and check with the building department about what they can do, what they can’t do . . . We don’t want people to assume these are all building lots. They’re not.”

When town councilors put together the current budget, they projected to sell $500,000 worth of property at the auction. They aim to put $250,000 in proceeds toward tax relief and $250,000 into a fund for future land purchases.

James St. Jean Auctioneers out of Manchester will handle the auction itself. The town won’t pay a dime for their service, officials said, as the auctioneer will charge each winning bidder 7 percent above the final bid price.

Bidders are advised to bring a $1,000 down payment for parcels assessed at $15,000 or less; $2,500 for parcels assessed between $15,000 and $50,000; and $5,000 for parcels valued at more than $50,000, Hickey said.

Closings would occur within 45 days of the auction.

During that time, the town would produce deeds and bidders would bring the balance of payment due.

“We’re hoping for a great turnout and we hope people will find a piece of property that will be right for them,” Hickey said.

Properties on auction:

The Merrimack town-owned properties below will be auctioned off at the Mastricola all-purpose room June 6 at 9 a.m. For more information, call Town Hall at 424-2331

Address Lot size Assessed value
15 Valleyview Drive 3.9 59,500
22 Valleyview Drive 0.636 38,000
244 Baboosic Lake Road 0.3 8,800
Off Wire Road 0.42 19,300
26 Sandhill Drive 0.465 120,700
Bedford Road –
in the area of High Street 0.19 9,000
Rear of Bow Street 0.78 19,800
1 Pine Street 0.028 4,000
2 Sarah Drive 0.929 136,900
97 Turkey Hill Road 2.24 142,700
Forest Drive –
near Woodland Drive 0.07
6 Stonedge Way 2.3 132,900
Wire Road 2.7
Off Executive Drive-
east of Heidi Lane 4.72
99 Wilson Hill Road 2.27 135,000
111 Joppa Road 3.557 186,900
Thornton Road West 1.02 7,100
Seaverns Bridge Road 4.38 25,300
18 Valleyview Drive 0.624 37,900
20 Valleyview Drive 0.64 38,100
Baboosic Lake Road 1.29 14,400
11 Heritage Drive 0.413 89,200
9 Heritage Drive 0.549 92,800