St. J To Spend $20,000 To Clean-Up Portland Street Tax Sale Property

955 Portland STreet in St. Johnsbury. (Contributed by Town of St. Johnsbury)

The house at 955 Portland Street in St. Johnsbury is a mess.

It’s such a mess that the town has decided to spend $20,000 to have it cleaned up.

“The building is just filled with trash,” said Town Manager Chad Whitehead at Monday’s select board meeting.

The two-story house, which sits at the corner of Portland and Duke Streets, went up for tax sale in 2019 after the owners failed to pay taxes for 2 years. Nobody else bid on the property so the town took ownership of it in 2020.

Whitehead has been working with the town’s Agent To Convey Estate - Mathew Ghafoori - on a plan to sell the property.

According to an analysis by Ghafoori, the potential sale price is estimated to be $30,000 higher if the property was cleaned up.

On Monday, Whitehead requested $20,000 from the board to get rid of the trash, strip the inside down to the studs and remove everything else including junk and old, decaying carpeting from the inside.

“It also gets the property cleaned up and pushed in the direction to be a nice home for someone,” said Whitehead. “So when someone does take it on - even if we just break even - at least the property’s on its way to becoming a habitable residence.”

The select board, on a motion by Dennis Smith, granted Whitehead’s request to use un-allocated general fund money to renovate the property and get it ready for sale.

“When we do sell it, those funds will go back into our general fund,” said Whitehead. “My goal would be to have it sold this summer.”

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