Press-Republican

March 23, 2013

Clinton County property auction set

By JOE LoTEMPLIO
Press-Republican

---- — PLATTSBURGH — Clinton County officials are hoping that delinquent taxpayers will pay up before the new final deadline to confiscate their land hits.

Signs notifying property owners that the county will take title to their land were posted on properties last week.

“The yellow signs went up last week, and we hope that will get people’s attention,” County Treasurer Joseph Giroux said.

The order giving the county the green light to take title to properties that are more than two years in arrears on taxes was signed on March 11 by County Judge Patrick McGill.

In past years, the day the judge signed the order was the final deadline, and delinquent owners could not make payments between then and the day the property was put up for public auction.

If they wanted to keep their property, they had to bid on it at the sale.

But legislators agreed to change the process this year. They are giving delinquent owners 45 days after the judge signs the order as one last chance to make their payments.

That puts the final deadline at April 25.

10 PERCENT PENALTY

The change was prompted by Legislator Mark Dame (R-Area 8, City and Town of Plattsburgh), who felt the county should do more to give late-payers another chance to make payments.

After April 25, there will be no recourse for late taxpayers before the June 5 auction.

Giroux said earlier this week that 82 delinquent properties were scheduled to go on the block.

“It’s a little concerning because, since we put up the yellow warning signs last week, nobody has come in and paid,” he said.

“Usually, that prompts a bunch to come in and pay.”

Those making payments between March 11 and April 25 will be subject to a 10 percent penalty.

About half of the properties up for auction this year are residences, but Giroux did not know how many are occupied.

He said all property owners were sent letters via certified and first-class mail in addition to the signs posted on their land.

“With the letters and the signs, people should know about this,” Giroux said.

Last year, the county auctioned 71 properties.

Proceeds from the auction go into the county’s general fund.

Email Joe LoTemplio:jlotemplio@pressrepublican.com