County puts it all on the auction block


By Jim Poole

Homes, vacant land and the one-time county poorhouse will all be on the auction block next Saturday, May 15.
Schoharie County Treasurer Bill Cherry will sell 35 properties that the county foreclosed on for unpaid taxes. The auction will be on the steps of the county courthouse and will start at 10am.
Thirty-five properties isn’t a record number, though it’s higher than the 26 sold last May.
“I don’t know if that’s an indication of a trend,” Mr. Cherry said. “Is it 35 this year because of the economy or is it just one of those things? I don’t know.”
The thrust of the auction is to recover some money and get the properties back on the tax rolls. For buyers, the potential is to get a good deal.
If the bids come in unfairly low, Mr. Cherry said, “We reserve the right not to sell. We know bidders want the best deal and we want it back on the rolls, but we’re not going to give it away.”
The property auction has always exceeded the total delinquent taxes on the properties. This year, the delinquent taxes total $403,846; the Treasurer’s Office estimates the auction will bring in $610,000.
The county sells the properties free and clear of all state and federal liens and all mortgages.
“There’s no worry that some lien-holder is going to come back and haunt you,” Mr. Cherry said. “These are free and clear.”
So what are the properties?
One is the former Mountainview Manor on Route 145 in Middleburgh. It was a home for the elderly under several owners, was the Queen of Peace Friary before that and was originally built as the county poorhouse in the early 1900s.
The state Office of Real Property Tax Services gives values for the properties, a new feature this year. The state values the former manor at $757,576, though Mr. Cherry doesn’t expect a price anywhere near that.
“It’s 56 acres, the views are beautiful, but I don’t know what you’d use the building for,” Mr. Cherry said.
“It had a mortgage of $1.4 million, which has been wiped out. It’s the largest wipeout of a mortgage since I’ve been here.”
Another highlight is a mostly-completed contemporary home on 15 acres on Vaughn Hill Road in Broome.
One other is a one-family home on High Street in Cobleskill. The house is occupied.
“We don’t do evictions,” Mr. Cherry said. “We leave that up to the new owners. Sometimes it works out with a rental agreement with the occupant, or sometimes the family there buys the house.”
A few other of the top properties include:
•Single-family home on Barnerville Road in Cobleskill.
•107-acre farm with two houses and a barn in Gilboa.
•Former boarding house on a corner lot in Sharon Springs.
•Small commercial lot in the Village of Richmondville.
•Numerous parcels of vacant land ranging in size from five to 20 acres.
A catalogue of the properties is available at the Treasurer’s Office in Schoharie.