This undated aerial photo shows Wytopitlock Stream in an area of Reed Plantation in southern Aroostook County. (Jerry Monkman/EcoPhotography) Credit: Courtesy of Jerry Monkman/EcoPhotography

REED PLANTATION, Maine — The Reed Plantation Selectboard chairman who owed personal property taxes for years and settled with the town in July, paid $4,200 of a $9,296 remaining balance, according to the town manager.

Scott Hanington, the owner of Hanington Lumber, had been working with town officials to pay what was once a $22,275 past-due amount dating back to 2008. By the time of the July settlement, Hanington had paid the balance down to $9,296, Town Manager Vann White said.

The settlement amount covered the past six years’ property taxes, White said.

Hanington is not the only Maine town leader to owe back taxes. A Woodland Select Board member, Thomas Drew, is working with town officials to pay $10,354.24, a combined total of 2021 and 2022 unpaid taxes to the town, according to public tax records.

“Our lawyer recommended settling because the judge was not going to let us go back more than six years,” White said. “He also recommended getting it in one lump sum. Which we did.”

The total owed from 2009 to 2022 was $9,296 in principle, White said. Hanington will  not have personal property taxes this year because he no longer has the equipment he was being charged on, he said.

The only communication between Hanington and the town officials regarding the payment was through attorneys, White said.

“I received the check in the mail and brought it to the attention of assessors Ellen Hanington and Nicole Collins,” he said. “We deposited the check, and were able to clear out the past eight years worth of property taxes with it.”

Prior to the settlement, the matter was scheduled in early June for a civil hearing in Houlton. The hearing was canceled at the last minute because of settlement negotiations. The settlement was  filed with the court on June 29 and an order of dismissal was issued on July 3 because the settlement amount was paid in full, according to court documents.

At the time, the town did not disclose the amount of the settlement. The settlement amount was released as the result of a Freedom of Access Act request.

Reed Plantation has a population of 125, and in 2023, the total personal property taxes the town received from other residents was $9,340. The town’s annual budget is $379,158.

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 2022, $9,296.  

“I did not pay my taxes because there was a lot of sickness in my family,” Hanington said in May, adding that he also had a major heart operation three years ago. “Family comes first.”

Hanington still heads the town selectboard, White said.



Kathleen Phalen Tomaselli is a reporter covering the Houlton area. Over the years, she has covered crime, investigations, health, politics and local government, writing for the Washington Post, the LA...