Fulton County nets $320K from property auction

JOHNSTOWN – Fulton County had a successful property auction recently, officials said, meeting tax delinquencies and earning an additional $320,883.

Ed Haroff, owner of Haroff Auction & Realty Inc. of Schroon Lake, Essex County, gave information about the auction of about 80 parcels to the Board of Supervisors’ Finance Committee Thursday at the County Office Building.

“It looks like you did pretty good,” board Chairman William Waldron told Haroff.

County Treasurer Terry Blodgett added, “It was probably one of [the] better auctions we had in a long, long time.”

The county contracted with Haroff’s firm to conduct one of its periodic property auctions June 19 at the Holiday Inn. The public bid on properties county government acquired through tax delinquencies.

Haroff said the total gain for the county from the auction – after the tax delinquencies were accounted for – was $320,883.

Blodgett wasn’t sure of the exact figure, but he said the county probably budgeted about $100,000 to $150,000 to come back from the 2013 auction.

“That’s obviously added revenue,” Finance Committee Chairman Jack Callery said of the extra funds.

Haroff said bids on 29 city of Gloversville parcels resulted in a gain of more than $26,000.

More than $290,000 also was brought in from 48 parcels in the county’s towns that went to auction, he said.

“The auction was well attended,” Haroff said. “I do feel the economy is getting better. All of our real estate auctions in all of our counties have been on the upswing.”

The auctioneer added that bidding in Fulton County’s recent auction was “more aggressive than it had been in prior years.”

“The city of Gloversville properties all started to bring more money than in prior years,” Haroff said.

Haroff said the “unfortunate” part of the auction is the group of unsold landlocked properties and paper streets that don’t sell as well.

“There’s nothing we can do about it,” he said.

Haroff noted many of the bidders have an attachment to the area and its properties, such as a bidder he had from Japan who was in the military, but originally from Fulton County.

“It seemed like quite a few out-of-town bidders took some of the larger [properties],” said county Administrative Officer Jon Stead.

Blodgett said a corporation from Nevada purchased a large piece of property in the town of Oppenheim, but he wasn’t sure why.

The Finance Committee also authorized the sale of county-owned properties not meeting the minimum auction price.

In the city of Gloversville, there were nine properties in which purchase prices bid totalled $36,350 compared to $72,697 in taxes owed.

In the towns, there were 10 properties in which purchase prices bid totalled $9,300 compared to $20,753 in taxes owed.