LOCKPORT – Niagara County’s annual tax foreclosure auction will put more than 100 parcels up for bid Saturday.
County Treasurer Kyle R. Andrews said Friday that there are several well-kept houses, but little commercial property and no obvious blockbuster items on the list of properties to go under the hammer starting at 10 a.m. Saturday in the hall of the Shawnee Fire Company, 3747 Lockport Road, Wheatfield.
“There are a lot of developed houses, especially in the Town of Lockport and the Town of Lewiston, that should draw significant interest,” Andrews said.
This year, he changed the county’s historic policy of accepting payments of the delinquent taxes almost until the last minute to rescue properties from going up for bid.
The deadline Andrews set for redemption payments was Aug. 2. “Even a 15-day window is more flexible than a lot of other municipalities,” he said.
Several communities won’t allow redemptions by previous owners less than 60 days before the auction. But the last-minute policy Andrews inherited from his predecessor, David S. Broderick, who died Monday, created its own problems.
“Many times, a prospective purchaser will travel a great distance to bid on a property, only to find there’s been a buyback,” Andrews said.
The 15-day rule, he said, “allows both our staff and the county attorney’s staff to better prepare for the auction.”
Thus, a bankruptcy or other legal issue is the only way to force a deletion from the list of the properties listed in the auction catalog or on the website of Auctions International, which conducts the bidding.
The problems with late buybacks were illustrated last year, when a coveted 1.77-acre piece of lakefront real estate in Porter, which had been expected to generate a major bidding war, was redeemed a couple of days before the auction. The owner paid the $12,666 tax bill.
A nearly 2,400-square-foot house in Pendleton also was redeemed the day before the bidding with a $13,068 tax payment.
This year’s catalog includes a helping of the usual supply of odd lots, such as a parcel on Beach Ridge Road in Pendleton which is 376 feet deep but only 14 feet wide.
The houses with assessed valuations of more than $100,000 in the auction are located on Dana Drive in Lewiston, Erna Drive and East High Street in Lockport, Cottage Road in Royalton and Telegraph Road in Middleport. There are a large number of houses valued between $50,000 and $90,000.
For commercial property, the vacant former Country Cafe on Niagara Falls Boulevard in Wheatfield is featured, along with vacant storefronts in Gasport, Middleport and Barker.