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What you need to know for 01/21/2018

Property auction nets Saratoga County $214,000

Property auction nets Saratoga County $214,000

Saratoga County made more than $344,000 from its recent auction of properties seized for unpaid back

Saratoga County made more than $344,000 from its recent auction of properties seized for unpaid back taxes.

The county treasurer’s office said it is still calculating the final revenue figure, but the county made more than the taxes owed on the 34 properties sold.

“The profit from the auction, after all the taxes and fees are taken out, was more than $214,000,” said county Treasurer Sam Pitcheralle.

The March 19 auction held in Ballston Spa, one of two auctions the county holds each year to enforce the requirement that landowners pay their property taxes, saw 34 properties sold for a total of $330,650. Various fees paid by the buyers brought the total to $344,800. One small landlocked property in Clifton Park attracted no bidders.

Those auction proceeds don’t count an additional $332,442 that was paid to the county by people who paid off their back taxes rather than allow the property to be sold by the county to the highest bidder.

Pitcheralle said 27 properties were redeemed by their owners prior to the auction and 19 more were removed from the auction at the request of town supervisors or for other reasons.

Supervisors are allowed to remove a property in their town from the auction list once, if the tax-delinquent owner can cite extenuating circumstances. A property can sometimes be removed a second time but almost never a third under county auction policies.

Among the properties removed from this auction was a 141-acre former farm on Staniak Road in Halfmoon owned by the Rucinski family. The county wants to take four acres from it for an extension of the Zim Smith recreation trail between Halfmoon and Mechanicville, and postponed its sale to give it more time to do the land subdivision paperwork. The property could be sold in September if more than $32,000 in back taxes aren’t paid by then, though property owner Edmund Rucinski has written to a number of state, federal and local officials objecting, saying he fears the land will be developed if it is allowed to be auctioned.

The highest successful bid at the March 19 auction was $77,000, which is being paid for 28 acres described as vacant on Beaver Street in Northumberland. The buyer is Erik Lubinsky of Riverview, Fla.

A two-family house in the village of Stillwater was sold for $59,000 and a three-family structure on Malta Avenue in Ballston Spa was sold for $48,000.

However, other pieces the county has taken for unpaid taxes — often tiny or landlocked — sold for as little as $25 or $50.

The money the county receives from the auction will go into the general fund, Pitcheralle said.

The Board of Supervisors’ Equalization and Assessment Committee voted Monday to accept the auction results. The results also must be approved by the full board later this month, after which the properties will be transferred to the new owners.

A second back-tax auction will be held in September. There are currently 19 properties listed for that auction, Pitcheralle said.

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