Man who lost home to unpaid taxes makes offer to buy it back

wwny Man who lost home to unpaid taxes makes offer to buy it back

WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWNY) - The city of Watertown took ownership of a home at 302 High Street, where Thomas Chiarelly has lived for more than 30 years.

Chiarelly lost his job several years ago and was denied disability assistance. With no income, he ended up owing close to $4,500 in taxes.

After missing the deadline in June and taking his plea to council on July 1, the city might be cutting Chiarelly a break.

“I want my house back and the city’s willing to work with me but, we have to work within the parameters of the current policy,” said Chiarelly.

City Comptroller Jim Mills says in his 15 plus years of experience, the deadline was always firm - two years to pay in full with no second chance.

Mayor Joe Butler says he’d be willing to work out a deal where Chiarelly buys his property back for the unpaid tax amount.

That’s as long as Chiarelly writes the city a letter with a formal purchase offer, which he brought to Mills Thursday morning.

“I’ll submit his written letter to council to take under advisement as to what his offer is and they’ll make a decision as a body,” said Mills.

Chiarelly says he got a loan that will cover the amount he owes. He’ll be responsible for any interest tacked onto that, which he says he’ll pay off from Social Security checks.

For now, Chiarelly still lives at his home.

“It’s actually kind of a weird feeling. It’s been my house for almost 33 years and I’m kind of living in somebody else’s house now,” he said.

Chiarelly has to wait for his purchase offer to get approved. The city charter requires 4 out of 5 council members vote in favor of it.

The offer will be discussed at the next council meeting on August 5.

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