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City Council approves sale of Fort Drum Vehicle Storage building on West Main Street

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City lawmakers on Monday night unanimously approved the sale of a West Main Street warehouse to the chief financial officer of Fort Drum Vehicle Storage for $125,000 after the owners of that business lost the property because of back taxes.

The Watertown City Council accepted the bid from CFO Ruby C. “Charlene” Williams to buy the building at 753 Rear W. Main St. Her attorney, Andrew N. Capone, said she does not have definitive plans for the warehouse, although he did not rule out renting it to the owners of Fort Drum Vehicle Storage, JoAnne Sanchez-Norquist and John S. Norquist.

“That’s between them,” Mr. Capone said after the vote.

The sale needed four votes, with Mayor Jeffrey E. Graham and the four council members approving the bid.

At a public auction last week, Ms. Williams paid the 10 percent deposit, or $12,500, with a series of cashier’s checks from KeyBank. She will have to pay the remaining amount before Nov. 16, said Mr. Capone, who also represents the owners of the vehicle storage company.

In 2005, Fort Drum Vehicle Storage was formed to serve deploying soldiers in need of a safe place to store their vehicles. It had stored about 90 vehicles in the now-vacant West Main Street building.

In July, the city took the warehouse after Ms. Sanchez-Norquist failed to pay $17,776.37 in delinquent property taxes. She also owes $92,443 in back taxes on four small motels and another storage facility in Jefferson County.

At the auction last week, Ms. Williams, who did not attend Monday night’s council meeting, said that her boss may move the vehicle storage company outside of the city.

On Monday night, council members also approved bids on six houses, three vacant lots and one tax-sale certificate. They tabled a $100 bid on the tax-sale certificate for 60 Woodley St. because successful bidder William Martin still has outstanding city property taxes for 2012.

The auction brought in $294,100 in revenue for the city.

Council members also approved a proposal to allow residents to pay property taxes, city clerk fees and water and sewer bills online with a credit card.

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