OGDENSBURG — City Council has set a public hearing for 7 p.m. on Feb. 24 to hear comments on an ordinance to sell surplus property at 416 Greene St.
The property had been on the agenda to be sold at last the City Council meeting, with a buyer lined up, but councilors voted to halt that sale and put the lot up for auction.
“I still think this property should have been sold in the first place at the last council meeting,” Councilor Nichole L. Kennedy said.
The property had been offered at a county tax auction previously with no takers.
A little more than a year ago, the city stopped offering property up for auction and shifted to direct sales, Planning and Development Director Andrea Smith said. “Because of the complaints we got from people that it takes a much longer time and it actually costs the city more,” Ms. Smith said. “But, we have done it both ways since I’ve been here.”
It takes between six and eight weeks longer to sell by public auction Ms. Smith said, depending on the schedule of council meetings.
The additional costs having to do with legal notices can be up to $500, City Manager Sarah Purdy said.
“Doing it the way we were doing it,” Ms. Kennedy said, “There were zero additional costs.”
In addition, the delay will mean that the city will be responsible for county taxes on the property if it is not sold by April 1.
Councilor Steven M. Fisher said the city could benefit from listing multiple properties for auction at the same time
“Putting one property up at a time is senseless,” he said.
“We don’t usually have that many people interested in that many properties,” Ms. Purdy said.
There are about 60 property parcels available, Ms. Smith said. Most of them are vacant, residential lots with non-conforming sizes.
The city used to have surplus auctions once or twice a year, Ms. Smith said.
“The city would acquire properties in June through the tax sale foreclosure and we would have an auction in the fall,” Ms. Smith said. “It costs a lot of money to do that, just in terms of the legal notices and things of that nature and you would maybe sell two properties.”
“In the last couple of years, we’ve sold a lot of property the more efficient way without have to go through legal postings and costing the city money,” Councilor Daniel E. Skamperle said. “I’m going to vote for this because I want it sold ... I really think I would like to see the city go back to, after it (a property) has been through the tax auction and nobody’s bought it, that if somebody wants to buy the property to come back and buy the property.”