REED PLANTATION, Maine — The head assessor has had delinquent personal property taxes on the Reed Plantation books for years, according to town records.
Reed Plantation is governed by a selectboard, but the town refers to its three members as assessors.
Reed Plantation Selectboard Chairperson Scott Hanington, owner of Hanington Lumber, has been working with town officials to bring a $22,275 personal property tax balance current, he said on Friday.
In 2023, the total personal property taxes the town of 125 received from other residents is $9,340, which is less than the remaining taxes Hanington owes the town. The town’s annual budget is $379,158.
Although Reed Plantation does not have any regulations stipulating that selectboard members have to be current with taxes like some do, municipal leaders are talking about changing that once this issue is settled.
“I’ve paid everything up to 2017,” Hanington said, adding that the remainder should be taken care of in a scheduled meeting next week with the town’s other two members of the selectboard, Ellen Hanington and Nicole Collins.
While Hanington, 64, believes his personal property taxes on his lumber business have been paid prior to 2017, Reed Plantation’s new town manager Van White said on Thursday there are remaining amounts owed to the town dating back to 2009. Some of these amounts may include interest on the unpaid balance.
“While I am unable to comment on this matter because we are working with our attorney, I can confirm that the most up-to-date information is in the town book,” White said.
Hanington’s remaining personal property tax balance is just under $10,000, according to the 2022-2023 town book.
Public records indicate that Hanington Lumber had delinquent taxes dating back to 2006, with some years partially paid. In 2021, Hanington owed from 2006 to 2021, $22,275.00; in 2022, from 2007 to 2022, $8,165.12; and in 2023, from 2009 to the present, $9,956.71.
To avoid going to court, the town is attempting to work with Hanington to settle the remaining balance, White said.
Hanington said the town has a history of preferential treatment to some residents and he was not one of those people.
“I did not pay my taxes because there was a lot of sickness in my family,” he said, adding that he also had a major heart operation three years ago. “Family comes first.”
Hanington also detailed his philanthropic work throughout the state, including with Children’s Miracle Network, and that he was the first person to start bringing back the Pine Tree Trail, which is an old route from Portland to Fort Kent that includes mainly routes 2, 1 and 100.