OSWEGO — More than 120 foreclosed properties were sold at the Oswego County Tax Auction held in Mexico earlier this autumn, garnering $1.5 million.
The Oct. 5 auction offered a selection of 125 foreclosed properties for an unprecedented number of bidders who packed Mexico High School and effectively provided a down payment on 123 of them, according to county tax authorities.
The tax-delinquent properties auction, managed by Schenectady County-based Collar City Auctions, raised approximately $1.48 million and repurposed properties that had been previously foreclosed on by county government.
Most properties, unless they are used for agriculture, have a two-year grace period for owners to pay their taxes, according to county guidelines.
The town of Oswego contributed the greatest number of properties to the auction with 13, while Williamstown only listed one property.
A ranch in Hannibal was the most expensive property, auctioned at a $70,000 bidding price, according to county records. The 9 Gregory Road property is officially valued at $114,900, according to the county’s real property database. The previous ownership owed $35,980.64 in property taxes.
The cheapest final bid for a parcel came in at $50 for a property off state Route 49 in West Monroe. The property on the east side of the county owed $525.31 in property taxes.
In previous years, officials have said there’s no set goal as to what the county gains from the tax auction, but noted Collar City Auctions has incentive to sell the properties at the highest possible cost because the company receives a portion of the sale price for each property.
Oswego County Treasurer Kevin Gardner said there was an “outrageous amount of interest” in this year’s auction, despite not generating as much revenue as last year’s event.
“That is both a good thing and a bad thing,” Gardner said. “We don’t want to promote foreclosing people’s properties.”
While the total raised was lower than in last year’s auction, which netted closer to $2 million, Gardner qualified the lower earnings as both “a good thing and a bad thing.”
“There was an outrageous amount of interest, way more than I have seen for the auction,” he said. “It is a better situation for the county when you have more people because they drive the prices up and promote more competition.”
The treasurer’s office cautions potential bidders looking ahead to next year’s auction of the following:
• Potential bidders must not owe delinquent property taxes in the county by the day of the auction.
• Potential bidders must not be an elected or appointed government official or immediate family of the former owner of the property.
• Potential bidders must not have defaulted from an Oswego County Tax Delinquent Auction within the last five years.
• Potential bidders must present a valid government identification and a Social Security number.