JOHNSTOWN - Officials are hoping for the best when Fulton County government conducts a public real estate auction June 13 for more than 100 parcels the county acquired through the tax foreclosure process.
The auction will be handled for the county by Haroff Auction & Realty of Schroon Lake at 11 a.m. that day at the Holiday Inn.
County Treasurer Terry Blodgett said Thursday that Hamilton County also will sell an unspecified number of its properties at the auction.
Blodgett said when the tax foreclosure auction was publicized with a brochure a few weeks ago, as many as 120 Fulton County properties were listed for sale. Properties include lots, acreage, camps, homes and commercial properties. But Blodgett said that number dwindled to 101 as of Thursday because some property owners paid their taxes and redeemed their parcels.
Property owners who faced a sale of their properties had from April 13 until Wednesday's deadline for tax redemption.
Blodgett, who is involved in his third auction as county treasurer, said the June 13 auction involves 2010 tax delinquencies.
Properties range from a two-story home on Fourth Avenue in Gloversville with a full market value of $127,000 to a $220,300 home on South Main Street in Northville. Another is a vacant piece of land off Route 29 in Oppenheim valued at $2,000.
Terms of the auction state the public must be aware that $1,000 or 20 percent of the total contract price, whichever is higher, must be paid as a down payment upon execution of a contract of sale. All deposits are payable to the Fulton County treasurer, and the purchaser is responsible for the payment of all taxes levied against the property subsequent to the auction.
Perth Supervisor Greg Fagan, chairman of the county Board of Supervisors' Finance Committee, said the county's auctions with Haroff have "for the most part" gone well. Some county officials measure success by how much the county receives as profit, but others say the auctions always serve a positive purpose by having unwanted or abandoned properties back to having tax-paying owners.
"One of the reasons we do this is to get them back on the tax rolls, to get them back on the books," Blodgett said.
The county lost $113,193 in a public, strictly online property auction conducted in December involving Gloversville parcels and parcels in the county's towns.
"I think it is part of the auction that they do online bidders for the regular auction," Fagan said.
The Haroff website - haroff.com - indicated it is offering live online simultaneous bidding for those unable to attend the live Fulton County auction.
Blodgett noted the December auction showed bad news for Gloversville parcels and good news for the towns.
Of the 15 parcels sold, 10 Gloversville parcels sold with a net loss to the county of $131,785. Five town parcels sold for a net gain of $18,591 so the total loss to the county in the online auction was $113,193.
Blodgett said the county can't really shoot for a certain figure or goal above the value of the tax-acquired parcels because auctions are unpredictable.
"You can't really say what you're likely to get," the county treasurer said. "You don't know what's going to happen at the auction."
Michael Anich covers Johnstown and Fulton County news. He can be reached at email@example.com.