Lockport Union-Sun & Journal Online

Communities

August 25, 2009

CITY OF LOCKPORT: 25 residential properties up for grabs at tax auction

Twenty-five residential properties, some reportedly in rough shape, are going on the city auction block Wednesday.

The annual tax foreclosure auction begins at 6:30 p.m. in Common Council chambers. Properties up for grabs include single- and multiple-family dwellings and vacant building lots in lowertown.

Terms of sale are modified slightly from last year, according to Treasurer Michael E. White. This year, winning bidders have to put down a same-night deposit of 20 percent of their bid, up from 10 percent in previous years. Also, the city may refuse to transfer a property deed to any person or company that’s found to have defaulted on a previous tax-payment agreement with the city.

A sale term that has not changed, but is stated more clearly in this year’s sale book: Any person or company that owns property with uncorrected code violations, or owes taxes on other local property, may be denied the right to purchase auctioned property.

Winning bidders are checked out in the days after the auction; if one is found to be the owner of code- or tax-delinquent property in the city, White reserves the right to cancel the sale — and not return the deposit.

Sale terms are tweaked from year to year to help the city land reliable, responsible buyers while still abiding by state real property disposal law, according to White. Ultimately there are few ways the city can legally prevent potentially undesirable buyers — non-local persons or corporations, for instance — from bidding on property.

“It’s not a perfect system. We do the best we can (within the confines of state law),” White said. “The ultimate goal is to get property back on the tax roll.”

City and school taxes owed on all of the foreclosed properties exceeds $180,000, according to the treasurer’s office. The properties were seized after three years of non-payment by their previous owners. The taxes are now wiped out.

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