April 07, 2020

Bankrupt Rich’s Department Store asks city to have owed taxes prorated> Bangor finance committee also will consider City Hall, auditorium proposals

BANGOR — A request from a bankrupt department store to prorate its property taxes will come up Monday when the finance committee meets at 5 p.m. at City Hall.

Rich’s Department Store, which closed at the Airport Mall in January 1996, would like a reduction of the $19,440 it owes the city for taxes on personal property — the equipment and fixtures from the store. No real estate taxes are owed the city because the store did not own the building it occupied.

City Solicitor Erik Stumpfel said Wednesday that the store occupied the building for about nine months of the 1997 fiscal year and is hoping to have its taxes reduced by about $5,000 for the last few months of the year.

“The issue for the committee is whether to accept the compromise offer,” Stumpfel said, “or wait for the bankruptcy to be resolved.”

Because the taxes are for personal property, a compromise might be considered, he said. If they were real estate taxes, then likely there would be no compromise because the city could take real estate on a matured tax lien to recoup its money, he said.

Claims for taxes are not wiped out by bankruptcy proceedings, he pointed out.

Also on Monday’s agenda will be an order for a small capital project, part of which would pay for automatic door openers for the side entrance of City Hall.

Purchasing Agent David Pellegrino said that $2,402.62 would pay for the installation of the openers, which would provide large buttons that a person in a wheelchair could press to open the two doors at the entrance by the wheelchair ramp.

The improvements would bring the entrance into compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

The small vestibule between the two doors can make it difficult for people in wheelchairs to get through the doors, Pellegrino said, so the door openers will be configured so that once one door opens, the second opens automatically a few seconds later.

The committee also will consider spending $19,000 to stabilize the concrete floors at Bangor Auditorium. A system of drilling holes and forcing grout between the two floors will provide stability for the new basketball floor that is due to arrive by Jan. 15. The floor will be in use for the Eastern Maine tournaments in February.

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