July 12, 2013

Delinquent-tax sale turns a profit


---- — MALONE — Franklin County took in nearly $100,000 more than it was owed in unpaid taxes in its recent land auction.

County Treasurer Bryon Varin said 50 parcels were sold for $684,324, which was $98,860 above the lien amounts on the properties.


Among those sold was the former Alaskan Oil convenience store and gas-station property on Route 11 between McDonald’s and Mo’s Pub and Grill.

The buyer was Sean Burke of Malone, who paid $21,000.

The property was acquired for back taxes in 2009, and the county originally tried, without success, to sell the place as it stood.

After unexpected federal stimulus money came through in 2010, the property was cleared of a leaking underground fuel tank, the building was torn down, and tons of contaminated soil was either treated or removed from the site.

The parcel was later appraised at $220,701 and put up for auction in October 2011, with a $220,000 minimum bid required.

But again, there were no takers.

Legislators decided this year to lump the land with the other delinquent accounts, and it was sold June 26.


The county reserves the right at each auction it conducts to accept or reject any bids.

To take that policy to a next step, Legislator Marc “Tim” LaShomb (R-Malone) wanted a committee to review the successful bidders for properties sold in the Village and Town of Malone to ensure the buyers were genuinely interested in the properties and not purchasing them on speculation and leaving them as is.

Town Supervisor Howard Maneely, Town Councilor Louise Taylor, Village Board member Hugh Hill, LaShomb and Legislator Gordon Crossman (D-Malone) met this week to review the successful bids.

They will recommend that the County Legislature accept the sales at its next meeting on Thursday, July 18, Varin said.

The auction drew 117 people in person, he said, and 45 of them had winning bids.

Eleven people used Internet bidding, and five of them were successful buyers.


Before the sale, two parcels were removed, and 10 were redeemed by their owners for a total of $123,843 in delinquent taxes paid, Varin said.

Combining the unpaid taxes that were collected from those 10 properties and the amount at which the 50 parcels were sold, a total of $734,930 would be going into the county treasury from the auction, the treasurer said.

“It’s good, and I’m pleased,” he said. “At our last auction two years ago, we didn’t exceed what we were owed in back taxes.”

Varin said the timing of the land sale probably contributed to the success because the new owners still have time to fix up their properties and get them ready to rent, sell or readied for another use.

Email Denise A.