Press-Republican

Local News

July 17, 2013

Essex County still preparing for much-delayed tax sale

ELIZABETHTOWN — The long-delayed Essex County tax sale could finally be held later this summer or in early fall.

No date has been set for the auction, which has been postponed several times over the last few years.

So far, more than 130 properties from 2006, 2007 and 2008 are slated to be sold for non-payment of back property taxes.

Supervisor Roby Politi (R-North Elba) told the County Board of Supervisors this week that title searches have been completed for those years and that a sale can be held in two to four months.

The title searches are not caught up for more recent years, such as 2009, he said.

“I guarantee you after next year, we will go to a two-year tax-sale basis.”

‘EMBARRASSMENT’

Politi said both County Attorney Daniel Manning III and County Clerk Joseph Provoncha have agreed to the two-year sales.

Essex County’s last sale was held seven years ago.

“It is an embarrassment that we have been seven years in this county without a tax sale,” Supervisor Thomas Scozzafava (R-Moriah) said.

The county contracts with Edward Haroff of Schroon Lake for auction services and will coordinate the sale with his firm. Politi said Haroff has tentatively reserved a date for the sale.

The next step is to submit the properties to County Judge Richard Meyer for his review and signature.

‘FIRE DANGER’

Essex County needs to hold a tax sale this year because $1.5 million in proceeds have been anticipated in the current county budget.

Several towns, including Crown Point, Moriah and Westport, now have abandoned parcels for which taxes have not been paid.

“Some of these properties are a fire danger,” Supervisor Daniel Connell (D-Westport) said. “We have to do something with these properties.”

Board of Supervisors Chair Randy Douglas (D-Jay) said the county is working on a better way to prepare for tax sales.

“I know it’s frustrating. We are looking at long-range plans.”

The county has approved use of an outside abstract service to do the title searches, which should clear the backlog, he said.

Email Lohr McKinstry:lmckinstry@pressrepublican.com

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