At Schoharie County’s property auction Saturday, bidders made out like bandits.
So did county taxpayers.
Run by the county Treasurer’s Office and Real Property Tax Office, the auction sold 40-plus properties that had been taken by the county for unpaid taxes.
And although the auction didn’t reach pre-sale estimates, it more than compensated for the delinquent taxes.
County officials are usually on the mark with their estimates before hand. This time, they believed the auction would bring in $605,100 on properties whose back taxes totaled $448,239, netting an extra $156,860 for the county coffers.
But the actual sale took in $477,648, about $30,000 over the tax total but short of the early estimate.
Still, Treasurer Bill Cherry wasn’t disappointed. The county recouped taxes owed, properties will go back on the tax rolls, and successful bidders got good deals.
He pointed to several properties that brought in less than expected:
•38.3 acres bordering state land in Blenheim, $16,500, or less than $500 per acre.
•50 acres in Blenheim, $27,000.
•A house on two acres in Carlisle, assessed at $90,200, sold for $14,000.
•A raised ranch in Middleburgh assessed at $89,000 brought in $29,000.
The weather may have hurt, with the auction held on a tent in front of county offices in Schoharie.
“The weather was lousy, and that may have limited participation to a certain extent,” Mr. Cherry said.
The auction drew 93 registered bidders, and spectators raised the crowd to about 200, all of whom squeezed under the auction tent.
Though the sale fell short of expectations, Mr. Cherry was upbeat.
“In the end, I consider it a win-win,” he said. “I hope a house becomes somebody’s dream home, and at least we got our taxes back and a little more.”
He also praised his department and Real Property for again working together and thanked deputies from the Sheriff’s Office for being on hand.
Several other counties in the state do a similar delinquent-tax sale, but Schoharie is the only one that does it in-house. Others hire an auction firm to handle the sale.
“By doing it in-house and having everybody working together, we save that 10 to 15 percent commission fee,” Mr. Cherry said.