Tompkins County
New York

Other - Action Item

Proposed Foreclosure Parcel Sales


Department:Planning and Sustainability DepartmentSponsors:

Meeting History

Mar 1, 2017 3:30 PM  Government Operations Committee Regular Meeting

Mr. Doyle requested direction on two parcels withheld from previous auctions and said he would like to offer to sell them to the interested municipalities (Ulysses and Freeville). The memorandum distributed to the Committee provides summary details of the parcels and Mr. Doyle said these are the only two parcels currently the County has that have been removed from auctions. The two parcels are 1284 Taughannock Boulevard (2012 auction) in the Town of Ulysses, tax parcel no. 27.-4-6 and Brooklyn Road (2016 auction) in the Village of Freeville, tax parcel no. 1.-2-1.2. Both municipalities are interested in purchasing these parcels with the deed restrictions being recommended.

Ms. Thomas said that until the State can take over ownership of the parcel, the Town of Ulysses would like to purchase it. There have been taxes paid on that portion and she understands they will have to pay back some of that in an arrangement that won’t jeopardize the Town’s budget. The parcel is in an unique designated area and the Town would like to keep the land preserved. It is important that it is in a conservation zone that offers protection. It is also is a scenic route as well. She said the Town is very interested in moving forward.

Ms. Chock said she supports this action and understands the County cannot continue to hold on to the property. Mr. Marx said the State parks did not agree with the title on the parcel and there is no guarantee when the State would consider purchasing it. He said it is not recommended the County own small parcels to have to monitor. Ms. Chock reiterated her support and said she would also agree to half the cost of taxes owed and to waive the fees.

Mr. John spoke of his visits on the Black Diamond Trail and said he supports the County’s trail programs and hopes it continues to grow. He also spoke in support of this proposal.

Mr. Burbank also spoke of his visits on the Black Diamond Trail and further commented that almost all the land between the City and the falls is privately owned and posted. He asked if the Town took over ownership would there be any opportunity for public access. Ms. Thomas said it is the Town’s intent to have public access.

Ms. Kiefer said she supports both recommendations; however, she does not support Ms. Chock’s proposal to reduce the amount. She asked Ms. Thomas how much time the Town would like to pay back what is owed. Ms. Thomas said as much time as possible would be helpful and commented that $9,000 is lot to the Town. A ten-year period would be acceptable.

In response to Ms. Chock’s question about the potential development on the Freeville parcel, Mr. Doyle said there is potential on a portion of it. Mr. Marx said the Village is interested in this parcel to protect it and possibly for infrastructure.

Mr. John said he has driven by the property regularly and does not believe it is a useful parcel.

Mr. Snyder noted that theses parcels are being sold considerably less than the assessed value. As Finance Director, he would prefer to get full value of all fees and taxes on property. His advice to staff was to sell them for what was owed. Mr. Doyle had commented that it was for the protection of the property, but Mr. Snyder continues to question where the remaining balance would come from.

Mr. Doyle believes the County is getting something from this in value. He views the foreclosure parcels collectively and that during the 2016 foreclosure process for example some are sold higher and some lower and he believes this comes as part of that balance. Mr. Marx also clarified that with respect to the parcel in Ulysses, staff recommended it be sold but the Committee agreed to withhold it at the Town’s request. He said there are mutual benefits to both municipalities and the County for keeping these parcels protected.

Mr. Klein reminded the Committee that these actions will be coming back to the Committee.

Ms. Kiefer asked how the assessment would change if the properties were sold with deed restrictions. Mr. Franklin said the Freeville parcel is valued as not a buildable site. The Ulysses parcel is a good building site and has value. If both parcels were sold with deed restrictions it would reduce the value.

Mr. Burbank supports having the Town of Ulysses work on something that is easier on the Town to pay back what is owed as it will be a great asset for the public. Ms. Thomas believes the Town Board would be honoring the County's designation of unique natural areas and the land would continue to be protected.

Mr. Klein agrees these actions are a benefit for the whole County and supports what is outlined as presented to Committee.