Tipline: Why No County Foreclosure Auctions? | News
BUFFALO, NY-- A viewer contacted our tipline to ask why there have been no property auctions tied to foreclosure held by Erie County over the past several years. The viewer felt it could help produce revenue for the county and that it was unfair to other taxpayers when some property owners did not pay their taxes.
We checked with Joseph Maciejewski who is the director of the Erie County Real Property Department. He says the county, under former County Executive Joel Giambra, actually sold off tax liens back in the financial crisis of 2004-05. A third party agency set up a public corporation to handle the tax collection and foreclosure process so it could make money on what was owed or in the sale of properties.
Maciejewski says that agreement expired and was not renewed so the county is now back to handling its own foreclosure and property auction. In fact a new auction is set for March 5, 2012. For more information go to Erie County's Real Property website.
Maciejewski says the third party actually did hold ten auctions, but they were smaller than the county auctions of the past.
The new auction lists at least 200 properties. Maciejewski says the new foreclosure effort by the county has actually brought in $1 million dollars as owners seek to remove their properties from the list. But he points out that foreclosure can be an expensive process with many notifications and legal hurdles. An owner must be delinquent in taxes for three years before the property can be added to the list.
As it turns out the property cited by our viewer on Ralston Avenue in the Town of Tonawanda is on the foreclosure list. Maciejewski says the third party group did try to collect the back taxes from its owners.