By LOHR McKINSTRY
---- — ELIZABETHTOWN — Essex County lawmakers are headed toward contracting out legal work for future tax auctions so they can start being held on a regular basis.
With news Monday that the next property-tax sale had been postponed again — this time to late November — the County Board of Supervisors Finance Committee unanimously passed a resolution to issue a request for proposals to conduct the sales of tax-seized properties.
The idea is to assist County Attorney Daniel Manning III, whose office has responsibility for the sales.
As he has done at county meetings for several months, Supervisor Roby Politi (R-North Elba) asked what the date of the tax auction would be.
Manning was not at the committee session, but County Manager Daniel Palmer said he’d spoken with the attorney about the sale.
“He’s thinking November.”
2006 CLEARED FOR SALE
At a meeting last month, Politi was told the auction would be in late October.
The sale has been postponed from month to month for at least the past two years. One issue has been determining full ownership for the properties that will be in the sale.
Palmer said the properties from 2006 with unpaid taxes have been cleared for sale, with County Judge Richard Meyer signing the order giving ownership to the county.
Documentation for the 2007 and 2008 properties is not ready and has not been submitted to the court, Palmer said.
“They aren’t over there (at the courthouse) yet,” Politi said. “That (sale) revenue is important. Just advertising the tax sale generates a lot of revenue.”
Some people pay up when the sale is announced, he said.
The county had estimated $1.5 million in revenue from the anticipated tax sale.
The last tax sale was seven years ago, Supervisor Thomas Scozzafava (R-Moriah) noted.
“We need to change the way we do business on these tax sales. To go this many years, we all have issues in our towns that need to be addressed.”
He said that many of the properties in the sale are vacant buildings that have deteriorated over the last seven years.
“I think it would make more sense to contract these tax sales out, maybe have a tax sale every two years,” Scozzafava said. “We’re not blaming anyone (for the sale delays).”
The Finance Committee voted unanimously to issue a request for proposals to conduct a future tax sale, for 2009, 2010 and 2011 unpaid taxes.
The measure gets another vote at Ways and Means on Oct. 28 and a final vote at the board’s regular session on Nov. 4.
“It would take a lot of pressure off Dan (Manning) and everyone else if we get caught up,” Politi said.
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