BATH | Ninety-four properties with delinquent taxes were sold in the July 12 Steuben County tax sale, bringing in approximately $1.1 million to county coffers, according to Finance Commissioner Patrick Donnelly.
Donnelly told the county Legislature on Monday there was only one parcel that failed to sell -- a “landlocked” site with no room to expand, which he said is a common reason for properties to go unsold.
Among the 95 properties put up for sale were four with existing use agreements in place from the DEC because of contamination on the sites.
All four of those sites sold as well, Donnelly said.
Hundreds turned up for the auction, which was held this year in the auditorium at Campbell-Savona Junior/Senior High School in Campbell.
The 95 parcels listed for sale were significantly more than last year, when 71 went on the block.
Donnelly also noted that although the law requires a buyer pay 30 percent of the purchase price on the day of the sale, more than half of the purchases this year were paid in full up front.
“That’s been increasing over time,” he noted
One of the key players in the auction for the last 16 years, according to Donnelly, has been Cindy Smith, part of the county’s finance team.
Donnelly called her the “ringmaster” of the annual tax sale.
On Monday, Smith, who is retiring, was recognized by the Legislature for her 30 years of service to the county.
Also retiring next month is county Fire Investigator Joe Gerych, who has been in that position for 11 years following decades in the fire service in other capacities.
Gerych’s role with the county has ranged from simply determining that a fire was caused by, for example, an electrical fault, to testifying in trials involving suspected arson and homicide, as he did in the cases of Joseph A. Meyers and Iryn Meyers, charged in the death of David O’Dell in a 2016 Wayland fire.
“Thank you so much,” Vice Chair Carol Ferratella told Gerych when he approached the Legislature to be recognized for his service.
County Emergency Services Director Tim Marshall said replacing Gerych could be a long-term process, as the position is subject to state Civil Service testing.
Those tests can be offered years apart, and no upcoming exam for that position is currently scheduled by the state.