SALAMANCA — After the sale of several city-owned properties at the tax foreclosure auction held June 23, Salamanca Mayor Michael Smith said the city raised about $10,000 in additional revenue.
At its regular meeting last week, the Salamanca Common Council authorized the sale of three properties to the highest bidders from the auction. The properties raised a combined $10,553 for the city.
Mayor Smith commended council member Janet Koch, D-Ward 5, for pushing for the tax foreclosure auction from the beginning of their terms in 2017.
“It was a heck of a good idea,” he told her, adding his thanks the whole council for its support of pursuing the foreclosures of properties with overdue back taxes.
The mayor explained that the auction also cleared up some tax arrearages as well as moving three properties off of the city-owned list. Overall, the process brought in about $108,550 to city revenue.
“We’ve added nearly $109,000 for the city that we would not have had,” Smith said. He also thanked city attorney Eric Weyland for his involvement in the process. “You did all the work. We just talked a lot.”
When the process began in summer of 2017, about 30 properties owed taxes for more than three years and would have been foreclosed on. With residents paying their back taxes and with the auction, Smith said that list is down to about a dozen.
The council plans to continue the process this fall with the next round of properties with long overdue taxes. Weyland suggested the council look at reducing the minimum bids at certain properties in future auctions as to encourage more to bid.
He also suggested reaching out to those who attend the auction to see if they want to make a lower offer on the properties.
“It generates the money,” he said, “plus, if the properties are in (the city’s name), we have liability exposure, so we want to get them out of our name sooner rather than later.”
Additionally, the council built funds into the budget specifically to demolish some properties in the worst shape that didn’t sell at the auction. Mayor Smith said demolitions on six should begin soon.
“We stuck to it,” he added. “It was a good job by all.”
(Contact editor Kellen Quigley at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter, @Kellen_Quigley)