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City to purchase 10 county-owned properties

Wants to fight blight, increase home ownership

GLOVERSVILLE — The Common Council on Tuesday night voted to purchase 10 foreclosed properties within the city from Fulton County for $146,404 as a way to spur future development in Gloversville.

The council passed an emergency resolution at City Hall to acquire the 10 properties, which the Fulton County Board of Supervisors had voted Monday to sell.

The Gloversville Finance Committee had previously reviewed and approved the transactions.

Properties purchased were: 202 S. Kingsboro Ave. — $12,748; 86 E. State St. — $20,865; 18 Pearl St. — $24,950; 18 Franklin St. — $8,001; 7 Grandoe Lane — $16,542; 5-7 Nassau St. — $10,160; 88 Wells St. — $7,558; 37 E. Eighth Ave. — $24, 324; 66 E. State St. — $21,252; 48 Spring St. — zero dollars.

“As part of a long-term strategy to improve the quality of residential neighborhoods and increase the value of real property within the city by eliminating blighted or otherwise derelict properties, providing greater opportunity for home ownership, and increasing the tax base, the city of Gloversville is desirous to acquire the following parcels owned by the county of Fulton, with a goal of the city subsequently selling the parcels for redevelopment/rehabilitation through the Gloversville Property Disposition Committee process,” Tuesday’s resolution stated.

Mayor Vincent DeSantis thanked the Board of Supervisors and county Administrative Officer Jon Stead, and said there will be a reduced tipping fee for demolition. But he said these property acquisitions are part of a bigger picture to get Gloversville moving again.

“It’s only a piece of the puzzle,” DeSantis said.

The council also passed a second emergency resolution authorizing Finance Commissioner Tammie Weiterschan to make budget modifications of $146,404 for purchase of the parcels from the county.

Monday’s Board of Supervisors’ action noted that DeSantis had written the county, requesting the city purchase the 10 foreclosed properties. The county resolution said the city “proposed to purchase said parcels for a new pilot program to systematically acquire tax-foreclosed properties in need of rehabilitation and improve them through the oversight of a city property disposition committee.”

“The goal of the pilot program will be to re-sell said properties to local contractors to renovate the properties, reduce the number of tax-foreclosure within the city and broaden the tax base by increasing the assessed value of the subject properties, as well as neighboring properties,” the county resolution indicated.

When supervisors voted Monday, there was a slight concern about one of the properties — 48 Spring St. The county resolution indicated that due to the “poor condition” of the property, the purchase price will be equal to the amount of sale proceeds the city obtains upon its re-sale, if any, and determined and paid to the county at that time.

Gloversville 4th Ward Supervisor Charles Potter told the county board Monday that he wished to have the 48 Spring St. property removed from the list of 10, but his motion to amend the resolution failed.

DeSantis told his council Tuesday night that for the last five years, Gloversville has been able to work with Fulton County through Operation Green Scene to reduce dilapidated buildings and improve the blight situation. But he said the process can become protracted, such as it taking three years to foreclose on a property.

Even after a property is foreclosed on, DeSantis said it can be taken over by Fulton County and go to auction. The mayor said the buyer can sometimes be someone who “has never seen Gloversville,” who can let the parcel fall into a further state of disrepair in what becomes a cyclical situation. By acquiring some of the better properties, he said the city can help stop some of this activity from happening.

In the past few months, DeSantis said the city reached out locally to developers and realtors for a “market study” of foreclosed properties. He said some of the properties were deemed “valuable” and the result was the 10 properties foreclosed in 2020 that were purchased Tuesday night. He said the city will now have “control” over the properties.

DeSantis called the council action a “watershed” moment for the city.

“I think this is a huge leap for our city,” said 6th Ward Councilman Wrandy Siarkowski, who thanked the mayor for instigating the purchase plan.

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