40 properties on county auction block


By Jim Poole

About 40 properties will be on the block when Schoharie County has its foreclosure sale on May 16.
The county may net nearly a half-million dollars in the public sale, far more than in past years.
That new record is probably because of the troubled economy, which pulls something of a cloud over this year’s sale, county Treasurer Bill Cherry said.
“I’ve always called this a win-win,” he said. “Unused and unwanted properties get bought up by someone who wants them, the county earns money and the property goes back on the tax rolls. It’s a real upbeat tone.
“I can’t say that this year because of the sad state of economy. It’s not a time to rejoice when so many property owners are in trouble.”
The numbers bear him out. The delinquent taxes on the 41 properties total $291,407. Last year, the delinquent total was less than half that, $126,281, and in 2007, even lower, $113,891.
“It could certainly be a barometer of the economic crisis,” Mr. Cherry said.
A committee of county officials that looks at the properties estimated that the sale may raise about $750,000, netting the county $466,000.
“The only upbeat thing is that almost $500,000 will help us meet our operational needs,” Mr. Cherry said. “The downside is, there’s a lot of folks in trouble.”
The delinquent taxes are from 2004 or previous years. The Treasurer’s Office notified the owners several times and offered payment plans and other assistance.
When the taxes still haven’t been paid, the county becomes the owner, under Real Property law.
“I’m not rejoicing in this. It’s my job,” Mr. Cherry said. “People have had payment agreements, second and third chances. It comes down to whether the taxes have been paid.”
Several of the properties this year are occupied by tenants, and in one, by the owner.
“It gets a little complicated,” Mr. Cherry said of the tenant-occupied properties. “The county doesn’t evict. But it can be a plus if the buyer is looking for a rental property.”
A couple of the prime properties are in Sharon, including 55 acres on Argusville Road and a former dairy garage/warehouse on eight acres on Route 20.
“It’s a nice three-bay steel building,” Mr. Cherry said of the warehouse. “It’s a great opportunity for someone.”
Others are three adjacent five-acre lots on Loonenburgh Turnpike in Seward, 11 acres with a concrete slab overlooking I-88 in Richmondville, a 2-5 acre lot in a Jefferson subdivision and a contemporary home on one acre in Middleburgh.
The auction starts at 10am on the lawn in front of the County Courthouse in Schoharie.
Bidders must register and provide a $500 money order, bank check or certified check to the county. The check will be returned if the bidder doesn’t buy.
Successful bidders will receive a quit claim deed from the county.
A catalog of properties is available at the Treasurer’s Office in Schoharie.