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Ogdensburg sets auction for surplus property


The city will slough off the dead weight of land it has no intention of using.

Ogdensburg set an auction of 27 pieces of surplus property for July 24.

Monday evening the City Council approved the sale of the parcels, a mix of property taken by tax sale and other means that has no municipal use.

Though the city typically holds auctions in the spring, this year’s sale was delayed due to the volume of property on the block, said Andrea L. Smith, interim director of planning and development. The surplus property is a financial burden on the city, she said.

“We’re not trying to recoup our costs but cut our losses and reduce the maintenance burden on city staff in terms of mowing the grass and paying utilities,” said Ms. Smith.

Though most of the parcels are vacant, some contain houses or other buildings. A few parcels are being sold with a condition that demolition is required.

“That is because those homes are not suitable to live in,” said Ms. Smith.

City Manager Philip A. Cosmo noted that property was being sold as-is, and it was up to the buyers to survey and research the parcels.

“We are selling our interest in the property on what is called a quitclaim deed,” he said.

A quitclaim deed offers buyers no warranty to the property or guarantee that the title is free and clear.

One property, 524 Bigelow Street, includes a house once slated for rehabilitation under Ogdensburg’s Neighborhood Stabilization Program, but subsequently removed so a private buyer could determine the future of the home.

The sale also includes the old St. Joseph’s Nursing Home at 420 Lafayette Street and the former Desperados property at 212 Ford Street, which were put on the block in November but received no bids.

“Both of those properties are included in this at reduced price,” said Ms. Smith.

At least seven of the parcels slated for auction are considered buildable lots, she said.

The City Council declined requests to divide the lots Monday.

“We do need new houses in this town, and we’re running out of places to build them,” said Deputy Mayor Michael D. Morley.

The minimum bids fluctuate from $50 for a narrow piece of land on Lincoln Ave. near King St. to $400,000 for the former site of the Community Resource Center at 100 Ford Street.

“Typically the minimum bids are set solely by the assessor. This year we did work collectively,” said Ms. Smith. “This was much more of a collaborative process where the city assessor worked with Greg Mallette from Code Enforcement, the city manager and myself.”

Some of the properties are being sold with the stipulation that they not be subdivided, said Ms. Smith.

“We want to encourage people to build on buildable lots, that is the ideal outcome,” she said. “In the long term, we want to see homes, and that is why you see the restrictions that you see.”

A number of the properties attracted potential buyers, who spoke at a public hearing during the City Council meeting. Hollis Harris expressed interest in purchasing a lot along Brown Street.

“I purchased two pieces of property on that street, for the past 10 years that I’ve lived there I’ve maintained it,” he said. “I would like to put that property back on the tax rolls.”

The auction will take place at 10 a.m. in the City Council chambers. For a complete list of properties and more information about the sale, contact the Department of Planning and Development at (315) 393-7150.

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