August 2, 2010


County, city auction properties

Sale of 43 foreclosed parcels brings in about $650,400 to coffers

AuctionJoe McIntyre/staff photographer
Buyer Cliff Gordon of Homer takes a final look at aerial photographs of foreclosed properties up for auction Saturday at the County Office Building.

Staff Reporter

Mel Manasse has owned his auction house for over 45 years, and through that time he has seen bidders during property sales fall into certain categories.
The buyers are usually people who will resell properties for a profit, turn a property into a rental unit or live in a property themselves.
At the auction on Saturday of 43 foreclosed properties in the city and county of Cortland, Manasse had a strong inclination all three types of bidders were in attendance.
Mel Manasse and Son Auctioneers conducted the auction, which was held in the auditorium of the Cortland County Office Building.
It was the first tax auction for the city in more than 20 years.
The owners of the 20 city properties auctioned on Saturday owe the city of Cortland approximately $719,975 in delinquent property taxes to the city, said the city’s Director of Administration and Finance Bryan Gazda.
The city properties sold for $313,600 and the county properties brought in $336,800.
Originally there were 24 city properties to be auctioned, but three properties were removed due to federal bankruptcy proceedings, Gazda said.
Another property, at 5 Duane St., was removed from the auction list because the owner paid the total of about $18,000 in owed taxes about a week before the auction, Gazda said.
Friday, state Supreme Court judges Philip Rumsey and Donald Cerio blocked six county properties from being placed in the auction.
There are about $277,200 delinquent taxes owed on the county properties auctioned on Saturday. That figure includes the properties removed from the auction.
Developer John DelVecchio said he was not looking for any property in particular, but rather something he could buy, fix and sell for a profit.
“Anything and everything, if the price is right,” answered DelVecchio when asked if he was looking for a particular type of property.
Manasse said about 300 people attended the auction, but only 150 people were registered bidders. Manasse said usually people bid together in groups.
All the properties, 20 for the city and 24 for the county, sold, Manasse said.
There was no required registration fee to bid on properties, just proper identification, such as a valid driver’s license and review of the bidder’s tax history to see if there were any unpaid city or county taxes.
The county and city do not want people bidding who have outstanding debts, Manasse said.
Before the auction began, Manasse reminded bidders that if they said they were buying a property, they could not renege on their decision.
“It’s (successfully bidding on property) is like having kids. You can’t give them back. You have to take them the way they are,” Manasse said.
Gina Millis, successfully bid on a vacant lot on Nye Road in Virgil near Elm Tree Golf Course.
Millis, who already lives in a home with her husband, said she does not know exactly what she wants to do with the property.
Either way, the auction is a great opportunity for cunning buyers, she said.
“I think it was amazing to see the deals,” Millis said.
Manasse said properties sold for as low as $100 or as high as $56,000.
The property that sold for $100 is located in the city of Cortland at 29 North St.
It is a landlocked vacant lot that was assessed for $500. The owner of that property owes the city about $1,067 in taxes, said Elaine Doe, an assistant at the city’s Finance Department.
Manasse told the bidders that they themselves are not responsible for any of the delinquent taxes owed.


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