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Easton Man Owes Nearly $200K in Back Taxes

EASTON, Conn. – The Easton man who owns a home that the town will soon take ownership of owes nearly $200,000 in taxes, according to First Selectman Thomas Herrmann.

Dwight Hazel, 73, has lived at 358 Westport Road all of his life. Since the early 1990s, he has been paying the town $200 a month to cover the cost of the back taxes he owes, Herrmann said. The money is coming from Hazel’s Social Security.

Earlier this month, the Board of Selectmen held a public hearing on the matter during which its real estate plans became public. In lieu of foreclosure, the town plans to seize the property and rent it back to Hazel in a lifelong lease. Under the agreement, Hazel will continue to pay $200 a month in rent to the town.

Herrmann and the Board of Selectmen have come under fire by Easton residents, and our readers, wondering why the town decided to take ownership of the home now and not 20 years ago. Many also asked why the town didn’t foreclose on the property years ago.

Easton Tax Collector Patrice Hildenbrand said in an email, “The town would like to take ownership of the property before Mr. Hazel owes more than the property is worth.”

According to figures supplied by Herrmann, Hazel owes a total of $193,678.96. Of that, $75,421.39 is principal and $117,777.57 is interest.

Herrmann said he could not speak for those who served as first selectman before him. He also said that after Hazel passes away or moves out of the home, the town will then sell the property in an effort to recoup the money. In previous years, Herrmann said, Easton’s town officials “have been most reluctant to foreclose under any circumstance” and looked at issues such as this in a more “humanitarian” way.

When asked to comment on the negative feedback, Herrmann said, “It comes to no surprise, knowing the individual who made those comments, they would be arguing for compassion if we were aggressively pursuing foreclosure.”

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