By LOHR McKINSTRY
---- — ELIZABETHTOWN — Although it’s not for five months, Essex County finally has a date for its next tax auction.
After two years of delays, the sale of properties seized for unpaid back taxes has been set for 10 a.m. Wednesday, April 30, at the Ticonderoga Best Western Resort.
The sale will be the first since June 2009.
Included in the sale will be more than 160 properties with taxes owed for 2006, 2007 and 2008.
The list of properties has been signed over by County Judge Richard Meyer, and auctioneer Edward Haroff of Schroon Lake has booked the date, County Attorney Daniel Manning III said.
Board of Supervisors Chair Randy Douglas (D-Jay) said the date was finalized Wednesday.
“I am very happy. We probably are going to do two sales in 2014 to get caught up; second date to be determined later.”
Essex County wanted to do a tax sale this year because $1.5 million in receipts from it had been anticipated in the current county budget.
But there just wasn’t time to get it in before winter, Douglas said.
To speed up the date of the following sale, the County Board of Supervisors has voted to issue a request for proposals from private entities for foreclosure services for 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012 properties with back taxes.
“We’ve been trying to do this to take some workload off our county attorney and the clerk’s office,” Supervisor Thomas Scozzafava (R-Moriah) said at a recent County Finance Committee meeting.
“We’re trying to make some money for the county and get these properties back on the tax rolls.”
Supervisor Edward Hatch (D-Willsboro) said he hopes all bidders are treated equally.
“I understand tax sales are very complicated and the big thing at putting them together is the title search,” Hatch said. “I’d like to see everybody qualified, in or out of the county, be eligible for this (contract).”
“Absolutely,” Scozzafava said. “How couldn’t they be?”
In 2009, the county sought proposals to conduct surplus-property auctions, and the recommended low bidder was Auctions International of Buffalo.
The Board of Supervisors, however, with many members professing a desire to continue with Haroff because he is based in the county, overruled County Manager Daniel Palmer and the County Purchasing Office and awarded the contract to Haroff.
The foreclosure services proposals will be reviewed by Palmer and Manning for a recommendation, Scozzafava said.
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