ROCKINGHAM -- Selectboard Chairman Tom MacPhee said the eight owners of properties the town scooped up in tax sales this month have at least a year to pay their delinquent taxes and keep their buildings.

MacPhee was selected as acting agent during two tax sales earlier in the month and placed a bid on eight of the nine properties up for grabs. He said the bids he placed were reflective of the amount of delinquent taxes owed, plus interest and penalties. MacPhee was quick to tell the Reformer the town does not own these properties, as the owners have at least a year to come up with the money and avoid losing them. He also said Rockingham will charge 1 percent interest on the properties.

A tax sale is a procedure towns can use to collect delinquent taxes. If property owners fail to pay their debt, the land (as well as any dwelling or mobile home on it) is put up for public sale.

According to town documents, the prices paid during the two tax sales ranged from $1,799.66 to $20,084.80. The local government paid a total of $64,124.31. MacPhee told the Reformer some of the properties are occupied, while others are not. He said several of the buildings are in "rough shape" and most will likely be torn down if ownership changes hands. The chairman added that tax sales are a way of collecting delinquent taxes and taking care of buildings that have fallen into disrepair.

MacPhee said each owner was notified of when their property would go up for public auction at Rockingham Town Hall. One auction was held on May 1, and another was on May 15. He previously had been authorized by the Selectboard to place bids in the town's name and he told the Reformer he was advised by attorney Ray Massucco on which buildings to bid on.

Town documents indicate one property was withdrawn from tax sale due to a taxpayer challenge and another was bought by Scott Whittemore, representing Springfield Hospital, for $13,628.56.

Domenic Poli can be reached at dpoli@reformer.com, or 802-254-2311, ext. 277. You can follow him on Twitter @dpoli_reformer.