Press-Republican

June 12, 2013

Clinton County sells delinquent-tax properties

JOE LoTEMPLIO
Press-Republican

PLATTSBURGH — Clinton County sold 53 parcels at the recent auction of properties with delinquent property taxes, netting nearly $300,000.

“It’s a little less than what we budgeted for, but we sold fewer properties than usual, “County Treasurer Joseph Giroux said. “And that’s a good thing because it means that more people keep their property, and that’s what’s important.”

The properties were put up for auction after the owners did not pay taxes for two years.

In past years, the final deadline to pay back taxes was 90 days before the auction, but this year, delinquent owners were given up to 45 days before the sale to make payments.

Properties that were earmarked for auction were posted with yellow signs from the county on March 11 notifying the owners that the final deadline of April 25 was looming.

Giroux said 18 property owners came forward to make payments after their properties were posted.

“It seemed to work,” he said. “We got more people to come forward in those final days.”

EXCEEDED EXPECTATIONS

The total amount of back taxes owed on the 53 properties was about $261,000. The auction brought in about $548,000 for a net total of around $287,000. The money goes into the county’s general fund.

Giroux said the county had figured on revenue of about $400,000 from the auction.

“There were a lot of empty fields that sold, and some of the other properties were in bad shape, so we didn’t get as much as we normally do,” he said, adding that one parcel sold for just $300.

Of those that sold, eight went for less than what was owed in taxes. In cases such as those, the County Legislature must approve the sales, which will be considered at its June 12 meeting.

“The purpose of this auction is to get the taxes paid, and we did that overall,” Giroux said.

“Some years, we make more than we budget for, and some we don’t. It’s hard to tell what is going to happen with each auction.”

HORICON MUSEUM SOLD

The auction was conducted by Schroon Lake auctioneer Haroff Auctioneer and Realty. The sale also included two City of Plattsburgh parcels that were deemed surplus property.

The former Rescue Hose Five building on U.S. Oval sold for $85,000, and the former Horicon Museum on Cornelia Street went for $50,000.

The Rescue Hose Five building has been sitting vacant since the volunteer firefighting unit disbanded in 2008.

The Horicon Museum has also been unused since the city opted not to renew its lease with the Firefighters Benevolent Association last year.

Mayor Donald Kasprzak closed the museum after discovering it was sometimes being used as a party house for firefighters and not a public museum.

“We’ve been trying to get as many tax-exempt parcels in the city back on the tax rolls since I was elected in 2006, and the sale of these two surplus properties accomplishes that goal and helps every taxpayer in this city,” he said.

Email Joe LoTemplio:jlotemplio@pressrepublican.com