Lawmakers Approve Resolution; County Not Responsible For Costs/Fees Levied Against Unpaid Property Taxes
The Cortland County legislature has reaffirmed a state law that prevents the county from picking up the tab for the cost of building demolitions ordered by local towns and villages.
Lawmakers approved a resolution Thursday night that says the county will not be held responsible for the costs of demolitions, utilities, or any other fees that are levied against unpaid property taxes by towns and villages here in Cortland County.
The decision follows the demolition of two homes in the Town of Truxton. Town officials ordered the homes down because they were a hazard to the community; the demolition bill was over $75 thousand dollars. The property owners abandoned the parcels and the County was forced to take the parcels for unpaid taxes, state law requires the county to pay the Towns for the unpaid taxes not the additional costs incurred.
Those two properties in question sold at auction for a couple thousand dollars each, so county taxpayers lost thousands in the process.
County legislator Tony Pace says it’s unfair for all county taxpayers to make up for the lost taxes and fund the additional town expenses. Pace says the Towns need to address code and other issues within their own budgets and regulations.
Lawmakers pointed out that there is a multi story building in the Village of McGraw that is on the verge of falling down and may have to torn down by the village. The cost of that clean-up plus back taxes could go as high as a half a million dollars.
Legislator Susan Briggs who voted against measure says she is not against limiting the county’s reimbursement for these properties but feels the towns and villages should have had more notice about the new policy.