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More than 50 properties could be taken over by Ogdensburg in 2014 tax sale if owners don’t pay up

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Unless the current owners of nearly 55 properties within the city of Ogdensburg come forward to pay back taxes by June 24, the city will take ownership.

City Comptroller Philip A. Cosmo said he believes, however, most owners will pay up.

“Historically by June it’s probably down to a handful,” he said of the number of property owners who remain tax-delinquent.

In a typical year, Mr. Cosmo said, the city comes into possession of 5 to 10 properties through tax sales.

“We end up with the vacant lots and abandoned buildings,” he said.

The majority of properties that the city takes over will be put up for public auction or sold to a developer, Mr. Cosmo said, though he noted that some may remain under the control of the city if they sit on important sewer lines or other municipal service components.

“We try not to hold them for very long,” he said. “Usually it’s the next year before we can get them on our list.”

Residents living in properties that end up being sold in a tax sale will be evicted, Mr. Cosmo said.

An online database cataloging city-owned properties has been put online at www.ogdensburg.org that has a list of both the total number of lots and the surplus properties the city wants to get rid of.

Currently there are 15 properties listed that the city hopes to sell, Mr. Cosmo said.

“Some of the properties will probably end up on the surplus property list,” he said. “It’s very rare that we keep a property that we acquire through a tax sale.”

Mr. Cosmo said the list of 15 surplus properties includes some plots that have been around for a long time and others that the city acquired as recently as last year.

Other properties listed on the website include those currently used by the city — like City Hall and the Maple City Trail — and some that have sewer or water lines under them to which the city needs access.

Anyone looking for information about the properties listed should contact the city manager’s office.

Mr. Cosmo said the city sent out letters to property owners who owe back taxes, and he expects that “over the next 90 days we’ll see a big push” to settle up.

The total number of properties that are up for tax sale is 158. More details are available through the comptroller’s office.

Mr. Cosmo said that between 65 and 70 percent of city land is owned by tax-exempt entities, including city government, churches, schools and medical service providers.

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