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County tax auction expands to two days due to an increase in foreclosures the

By Fritz Mayer
May 25, 2011

The still struggling economy is responsible for a high number of foreclosed properties in Sullivan County this year. There are about 410 lots and homes that are likely to be auctioned off, though that could change as owners take legal steps to halt the sale.

The number is nearly twice as high as in last year’s auction, when some 200 properties were on the block. Vacant lots make up the largest number of parcels, but there are also quite a few homes this year. Most of them are not primary residences, but instead are part of the second-home market. There are also a number of properties that regularly fall behind on taxes, such as more than a dozen units at the Grandview Palace
condominium complex on Route 52 outside of Liberty.

There are also properties that were bought at previous auctions by land speculators, who then stopped paying or never paid taxes on the parcels they purchased.
The auction this year will take place at The Lodge at Rock Hill, which is itself the subject of foreclosure proceedings.
The auction is scheduled for June 22 and 23, beginning at 10 am. There will be an information session for interested bidders on June 20 in the lobby of the government center in Monticello, beginning at 6 p.m.

More information about the auction can be found at www.nysauctionsbids.com. The site has a list of the foreclosed properties and also information about the three methods of bidding: live, absentee and online.

Revenue for municipalities

Money from the auction goes to the county and helps to offset the loss of revenue due to nonpaid tax bills. Under New York State law, counties must make towns “whole” when there are unpaid taxes, which means that after the towns collect property taxes, they withhold some of the tax revenue that would normally be forwarded to the county to cover any losses the towns might have incurred due to delinquent taxes.

Sullivan is one of the few counties in the state that does not make villages whole, but it does offer to auction parcels for the villages, and to help them recover some of the lost tax revenue.

Nancy Buck, deputy treasurer for the county, said that in past years the county may lose money on some parcels compared to the back taxes that were owed, but make a lot more on others. So overall, the county usually does much better than break even with the auction process.