Section 79. After ninety days from the taking or purchase by a town of any parcels of land for non-payment of taxes, the commissioner may, and on written application of the town treasurer shall, inquire into the value of such parcels and the validity of tax titles held thereon. As a part of such inquiry the commissioner shall, upon written request therefor by any person in interest, hear such person relative to any matter pertaining to such inquiry. If the commissioner is of the opinion that such parcels are of insufficient value to meet the taxes, interest and charges including the payment of fifty dollars to a city or town as the legal fee for proceedings under this section, and all subsequent taxes and assessments thereon, together with the expenses of a foreclosure under section sixty-nine, including the payment of fifty dollars to a city or town as the legal fee for proceedings under this section, that none of such parcels exceeds $15,000 in value, and that the facts essential to the validity of the tax titles on such lands have been adequately established, he shall make affidavit of such finding, which shall be recorded in the registry of deeds for the district wherein the land lies. The dollar value of such parcels specified in the previous sentence shall be increased every January 1 by the percentage increase of the Consumer Price Index for Urban Consumers prepared by the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the United States Department of Labor for the previous calendar year.
The commissioner may require the treasurer to include in his application a statement under the penalties of perjury setting forth such information appearing in the records of the assessors and of the collector and tending to establish the validity of the tax titles on such parcels of land as the commissioner deems meet. The statement so made, or such portion thereof as the commissioner finds pertinent, may be incorporated in his affidavit and, when recorded, shall be prima facie evidence of such facts.
Upon the recording of the affidavit the treasurer may sell all the parcels included therein, severally or together, at public auction to the highest bidder, first giving notice of the time and place of sale by publication fourteen days at least before the sale in a newspaper published in the town, if any, otherwise in the county and by posting a notice of the sale in some convenient and public place in the town fourteen days at least before the sale; provided, that the treasurer at such auction may reject any bid which he deems inadequate. If the sale under this section shall not be made within four years from said taking or purchase, it shall be made by the treasurer for the time being when he deems best, or at once upon service on him of a written demand by any person interested therein. The treasurer shall execute and deliver to the highest bidder whose bid has not been rejected as inadequate a deed without covenant except that the sale has in all particulars been conducted according to law. The purchaser shall be required as a condition of the sale to authorize the treasurer executing the deed on behalf of the city or town to record the same, and the expense of such recording shall be paid by such purchaser. The treasurer shall cause such deed to be recorded in the proper registry of deeds within fifteen days after the execution thereof. Title taken pursuant to a sale under this section shall be absolute upon the recording of such deed of the treasurer.
If the amount received from the sale is more than the taxes, interest and charges including the payment of fifty dollars to a city or town as the legal fee for proceedings under this section, and subsequent taxes and assessments, on all lands included in the sale, together with the expenses thereof, the balance shall be deposited with the town treasurer to be paid to the person entitled thereto if demanded within five years, otherwise it shall enure to the town. If such surplus results from the sale of several parcels for a lump sum, it shall be held as aforesaid for the several owners in proportion to the prices at which the several parcels were originally taken or purchased by the town.
The treasurer shall include the payment of fifty dollars to a city or town as the legal fee for proceedings under this section and said amount shall be added to the tax title account of the land being sold at public auction and shall be included in the amount due for redemption if redemption is made prior to said sale.