BROCTON - "This is at least the third time this property has sold in a tax sale with no benefit to the building itself or to the community."
That was the statement from Brocton Mayor Dave Hazelton regarding the village board's decision to decline a request from the recent buyer of 10 East Main St., Scott Endress, for the village to assume possession of it.
Endress, through a letter to the village, asked if the municipality would reimburse him $800 to cover his cost of the purchase, as well as required title and paper documentation associated with the county tax sale and allow the property to be turned over the village.
OBSERVER?Photo by Ann Belcher
The Brocton Village Board has declined a request from the recent buyer of 10 E. Main St. for the village to assume possession of it.
During the board of trustees' meeting, Hazelton summarized the letter for the rest of the trustees.
"He's talking about being reimbursed the $800 in expenses and I'm just not sure we want to even do that. He bid on it. He was told about the condition of the building. I don't know why it would be up to us to bail him out," stated the mayor.
Trustee Nick Rizzo offered, "He can certainly donate it back to the village once he's spent what it will cost to fix the building."
While the trustees voted to decline the buyer's offer, frustration still remains about the lack of movement on the structure, which seems to be in a state of limbo.
Trustee, J. Dale Abram added, "we're talking about an over 20 year old building that continues to deteriorate because the county didn't make requirements at that auction that the buyer be responsible for bringing the building at least up to code, if not repairing it."
"Unfortunately this is a real failure of the current tax sale system that no requirements of the purchaser are in place to bring the property up to code. Someone buys it, they do nothing with it, the taxes go unpaid, and the county sells it to someone else. Then the property continues to deteriorate."
Hazelton expressed those frustrations to County Legislator Lori Cornell as he discussed with her the possibility of seeking help from the Land Bank Act to rescue the building in some way.
"This is the failure of the whole real estate tax sale program. It should stipulate that the property be brought up to code or the building be taken down. To continue to let properties change hands like this and not require the buyers to do something with them is not good practice. And absolutely every community has properties in this situation, and this is not the only one in Brocton. This one just happens to be on Main Street," stated Hazelton.
During the village board meeting, Clerk Karen Ardillo reminded those at the meeting that the village could've pursued a grant opportunity to assist Main Street, including that building, but because there wasn't an owner to provide the necessary 50 percent matching responsibility, it was awash. An agreement with Municipal Solutions to pursue a Community Development Block Grant for Main Street, as well as water main replacement on Highland Avenue was rescinded at the board meeting.
In his conversations with county officials, Hazelton is further frustrated to learn that all funds associated with the Land Bank have been allocated, and that the county will no longer be returning any unpaid school or village taxes to Brocton.