County, bidders win at auction


By Jim Poole

The auction of Schoharie County foreclosed properties wasn’t a record-breaker Saturday, but it turned out okay for taxpayers.
And for buyers, too.
With more than 100 bidders and onlookers watching, County Treasurer Bill Cherry auctioned about 50 properties that sold for $719,149.
His staff and allies at the Real Property Tax Office expected the auction to bring in $853,548, but at least a half-dozen properties were pulled out of the auction at the last minute because of bankruptcy and legal filings.
“Those were prime properties,” Mr. Cherry said of the pull-outs.
The county took all the properties earlier for back taxes. The delinquent taxes on the auctioned parcels amounted to $545,873, so with the $719,149 total sale price, the county––and taxpayers––netted $173,276.
“That’s over and above the delinquent taxes,” Mr. Cherry said.
“It was very successful. I’m thrilled that despite the exclusion of some very nice properties, we still did well.”
Buyers get good deals and the county recoups delinquent taxes, but another benefit to the county is that the properties go back on the tax roll.
The top seller was a house on 60 acres in Jefferson, which brought a final bid of $66,000.
In second place was a house on 10 acres in Fulton; that sold for $65,500.
A few auction parcels were what Mr. Cherry calls “problem properties”––landlocked pieces sold only to adjoining property owners.
Matt Loder got the best deal on a landlocked parcel––44 acres in Summit for $100.
“We start the landlocked properties at $100,” Mr. Cherry said. “That was the opening bid, and that’s what he got it for. Forty-four acres for $100. I’m pretty sure that’s a record.”
One curiosity he noticed several times was that competitive bidders, raising each other’s bid by $1,000, eventually congratulated one another after the winning bid.
“There were several examples of that,” Mr. Cherry said. “After the bidding, there were big smiles and handshakes. It was really a feel-good auction.”