The Chautauqua County Legislature will be reviewing a resolution at its full meeting Wednesday to transfer 28 properties to the County Land Bank.
County Attorney Stephen Abdella told the Legislature’s Audit & Control Committee that a working group for the county has identified 56 properties that had been pulled from the county auction so that the Land Bank can do demolition and then market them as side lots. The hope is that adjoining owners would buy those properties and they’d go back on the tax roles.
Abdella said what the Finance department found was as these properties were in the process over time, they are sitting in a taxable status, “And the county is ending up guaranteeing the continuing taxes on these properties that in many cases in which the assessment remain high because the effect of the demolition takes some time to have an impact on the assessment because taxable status day is just once a year.”
Abdella says the County is incurring $56,000 a year in tax carrying costs until the properties are demolished and conveyed. The work group discussed the possibility to convey some of these properties as soon as possible to the Land Bank, if willing, because the Land Bank enjoys instant tax exempt status, “Because the [tax] rolls for most all municipalities, other than the City of Dunkirk, get finalized by July 1st and Dunkirk I believe is August 1st. And so although you can do these transfers in the middle of the year, it causes all this correction paperwork and monkey business.”
Abdella said the Land Bank responded to the county that they were willing to have 28 properties be conveyed to them for this year. He said this will help save the county on taxes for those properties this year as well mowing costs. The resolution will be co-sponsored by Legislators Bob Scudder and Chuck Nazzaro.