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County takes a hit at property auction

December 30, 2012
By MICHAEL ANICH , The Leader Herald

JOHNSTOWN - Fulton County took a loss of $87,025 in last month's online public auction of tax-foreclosed properties, the Board of Supervisors learned Thursday.

The board's Finance Committee heard a report on the auction from County Treasurer Terry Blodgett.

The full board later passed a resolution to authorize the sale of properties that did not draw the minimum bids.

"It's hard to swallow," Johnstown 3rd Ward Supervisor Jack Callery said of the auction losses.

Blodgett told the committee that the online auction ended Nov. 27. He said 24 parcels went to auction, and 16 of them were sold. He said the properties in the city of Gloversville sold at a loss of $85,209, and those in the towns were sold at a loss of $1,816.

"The net loss was $87,025," Blodgett said.

In some cases, there was a big difference in how much was owed in taxes and how much the county accepted in bid amounts. In one case, the county accepted a $100 bid on a Gloversville parcel for which the tax debt was $22,245.

Blodgett said Haroff Auction & Realty Inc. of Schroon Lake conducted the auction.

Most of the properties were in the city of Gloversville, although some were in the towns of Johnstown, Oppenheim and Stratford.

"They're all vacant lots in the cities or towns," Blodgett said.

He said many of the parcels were held over from the county's regular June auction, and some of the parcels have been for sale for three or four years.

County Administrative Officer Jon Stead said about half of the lots used to have buildings on them but are now vacant because the county Demolition Team razed the structures.

"Some of them are landlocked and are paper streets and aren't really worth much of anything," Stead said.

But Blodgett said the county should still sell the properties for tax reasons, even if not at the original price sought.

"The sooner we get these turned over to somebody's name, the less we're going to have to pay," Blodgett said.

The board resolution noted the Finance Committee reviewed the bids not meeting the minimums.

The resolution said the committee determined "it would be in the county's best interest to accept bids below the minimum on certain parcels in order to place them back on the active tax rolls."

Michael Anich covers Johnstown and Fulton County news. He can be reached at



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