April 22, 2013

Essex County tax sale delayed

ELIZABETHTOWN — Essex County’s auction of seized properties with unpaid taxes has been postponed until June.

The sale had originally been slated for early spring, but completing the needed title searches is taking longer than anticipated, County Attorney Daniel Manning III said.

He asked the County Board of Supervisors Personnel and Administration Committee to approve use of an outside abstract service to do the title searches.

Manning told the committee the searches are now done in-house, but take longer that way.

“If that’s what’s holding these tax sales up we need to find a way to straighten that out,” Supervisor Thomas Scozzafava (R-Moriah) said.


Essex County needs to hold a tax sale as soon as possible because $1.5 million in proceeds is anticipated in the current county budget.

It has been seven years since the last tax sale, and Manning said he’d like to see one held every two years.

“Two years is fine; it certainly beats seven-year sales,” Scozzafava said.

About 130 properties from 2006 and 2007 will auctioned off. The county contracts with Edward Haroff of Schroon Lake for auction services and so is coordinating it with his firm.


Scozzafava said he will watch the sale closely to see who is buying properties in his town.

At the last auction, he said, people purchased apartment buildings in Moriah and did not maintain them, resulting in unsanitary and unsafe conditions.

“I have people from out of town who bought properties, rented them out, paid no taxes. And they end up back on the tax sale.”

If that happens again, Scozzafava said, he’d propose a local law to bar them from buying anything in future sales.

Retaining the abstract company will get a preliminary vote at Ways and Means on April 29 and a final vote at the board’s May 6 meeting.

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