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Lewis tax auction features 33 parcels, including West Leyden bar

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LOWVILLE — The annual Lewis County delinquent tax auction will feature 33 properties, including a bar near the county’s southern border.

The West Leyden Hotel, 5221 Osceola Road, is to be among the parcels auctioned at this year’s event, slated for 11 a.m. Wednesday at the Lowville Elks Lodge, 5600 Shady Ave. Registration begins at 9 a.m.

The auction again will be conducted by Haroff Auction & Realty Inc., Schroon Lake.

The three-story West Leyden Hotel has a full market value of $135,000. It was built about 1860, according to county records.

Two other active businesses were included in the original auction brochure printed last month, but they both were repurchased from the county by their respective owners before the 4:30 p.m. Friday deadline.

To repurchase their properties, owners had to pay all delinquent taxes, penalties and fees from both 2010 and 2011, plus an extra 10 percent of that amount as an auctioneer’s fee and 5 percent of the parcel’s full value.

The county in February foreclosed on 65 parcels with unpaid taxes from January 2010.

Most of them were still slated to be auctioned until about a week and a half ago, County Treasurer Patricia L. O’Brien said. Since then, a flurry of repurchases had whittled down the number of parcels to a more manageable figure, she said.

“Everybody has been waiting until the last minute to come in,” Mrs. O’Brien said.

The treasurer said that while she would have liked to see even more people repurchase their properties, the final parcel total is comparable to past years.

Last year’s auction featured only 15 properties, but there were 30 in the 2010 auction.

The 2012 auction will include eight houses, three of which are listed as occupied. There are also three seasonal residences, a mobile home, a garage and 19 vacant land parcels.

There are six parcels apiece in the towns of Diana and Osceola, followed by four in the town of Croghan and three apiece in the towns of Greig and Lewis.

No parcels are up for auction in four of the 17 Lewis County towns: Harrisburg, Montague, New Bremen and Turin.

Along with the repurchased parcels, a few properties were pulled from the auction for other reasons.

Two vacant properties, one in Diana and the other in New Bremen, owned by a Fort Drum soldier were removed from the auction after the owner notified the county treasurer’s office that he had just returned from a deployment, Mrs. O’Brien said. He intends to repurchase the properties within the next couple of weeks, she said.

County legislators on Monday also voted to remove a 44.4-acre forest property off North-South Road in the town of Greig for timber removal and possible recreational trail development.

The Brantingham area parcel has actually been owned by the county since 2009, when it was pulled from that year’s auction at the request of county employees but never formally approved by legislators.

County legislators last June, after learning that a 265.3-acre parcel near Osceola Road in the town of Lewis also had been pulled from the 2011 auction, decided to implement a formal process for removing properties from the tax auction. Requests by county employees to remove any parcels, including the two pulled in 2009 and 2011, were made subject to review by the legislative Taxation Committee, then the full Legislature.

While the Greig parcel was retained by the county, the one in Lewis was not and is up for auction Wednesday.

Lawmakers on Monday also removed a 1,244.2-acre parcel off Fowlerville Road in the town of Lyonsdale owned by National Grid over legal issues, but the utility company repurchased it later in the week, Mrs. O’Brien said.

Auction information and access to Internet bidding is available on Haroff’s website at www.nysauctions.com.

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