SHIRLEY -- Property taxes on a Harvard Road home have been in arrears since 1986, with only sporadic payments since then. As of mid May, the property owners owed about $105,000 in back taxes, fees and fines, plus several years of unpaid sewer betterments, according to Town Collector Holly Haase.

Faced with an eviction notice dated June 9, the couple came to selectmen a few weeks ago, seeking relief. At that time, Haase, accompanied by an attorney, laid out the case for foreclosure and cited each step in the process that led to the property being placed on the tax-taking list.

Following procedure, the list is advertised, Haase explained, with liens placed on properties whose owners don't pay what they owe the town in back taxes.

They get plenty of notice and ample opportunity to arrange a payment schedule, she said.

In this case, Haase said there was no response to tax bill notices and demand letters sent. At some point, the couple reportedly spoke with Treasurer Kevin Johnston about the matter, but it was not resolved.

Now, having obtaining a ruling in land court that in effect ceded ownership of the property to the town and with the eviction date set, the board agreed to stay execution of the court order if the couple paid up by the deadline date of June 9. Otherwise, the eviction would stand.

Haase agreed to provide an exact amount due, which she did by certified letter, she said. The letter also set out the terms of the payment agreement, as discussed.

The owners agreed to pay their bill in full and also agreed to a list of conditions, such as paying the current, outstanding amount and all future bills by certified check.

Monday night, Town Administrator Patrice Garvin told the selectmen no payment had been made and the eviction would move forward in land court.