40 county-owned properties on auction block


By Jim Poole

Anyone looking for a deal should be in Schoharie Saturday morning.
That’s when county Treasurer Bill Cherry will auction more than 40 county-owned properties.
The sale starts at 10am at the county office building.
The properties––vacant land and houses, most of them abandoned––were taken by the county because of unpaid taxes.
“Before the properties get to this stage, we do everything we can to avoid taking them,” said Mr. Cherry, noting that Schoharie County is one of six in the state that offers a monthly tax payment plan.
“But these are ones for which we’ve exhausted all avenues.”
Bidders at the auction are buying from the county; previous owners are not involved, and the properties are free and clear of all taxes, Mr. Cherry said.
“There are no old tax bills that are going to come up and bite you,” he added. “It’s just like buying a surplus desk from the county.”
Mr. Cherry pointed to four properties he considers prime:
•Parcel 3, 38 acres on North Road in Blenheim. “It’s a real nice piece of land that adjoins state land. A lot of people like that,” he said.
•Parcel 4, 50 acres on Cole Hollow Road in Blenheim. “It’s a great spot, way back there and secluded,” Mr. Cherry said. Like the one above, this piece also adjoins state land.
•Parcel 25, Two houses on a two-acre lot on Mill Valley Road in Middleburgh. “They’re partially renovated and pretty nice,” Mr. Cherry said.
•Parcel 48, 19 acres and an abandoned farmhouse and barn on Baldwin Road in Summit. “It’s a nice piece of property with beautiful views, and it’s already subdivided into four lots,” Mr. Cherry said.
Other parcels include wooded acreage, homes, a former Grange hall in Esperance, small parcels and village homes.
The total delinquent taxes on all properties are $448,239. Working with the county Real Property Tax Office, Mr. Cherry’s office estimates that bids will reach $605,100.
If bids hit the estimate, that means the county will not only recoup its back taxes, but will also gain $156,860.
“It’s a win-win,” Mr. Cherry said. “Successful bidders get a good deal, the county gets its back taxes, and the properties become active again.”

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The nuts and bolts of the auction:
•Bidders must register before the auction and can do so Saturday.
•They must place a $500 deposit with bank check, certified check or money order before the auction. The county returns the money if the bidder doesn’t buy a property.
•Successful bidders must pay 10 percent of the bid on the day of the auction.
•Bidders have 30 days to pay the balance.
Auction catalogs are available at the Treasurer’s Office in Schoharie. The catalog is also online at www.SchoharieCounty-NY.gov.