Yates County Legislators have accepted all but two bids offered for various properties the county had taken possession of for non-payment of property taxes from 2013. When the resolution to accept the bids on 10 properties was introduced by Finance Committee Chairman Douglas Paddock Monday evening, Mark Morris offered an amendment removing two of the bids from the resolution because the bids were less than the delinquent taxes due on them. The amendment was approved by a vote of 8–6 following a brief discussion. Leslie Church, Jim Smith, Paddock, Elden Morrison, Bonnie Percy, and Dan Banach voted against removing the two bids.
Smith said the legislators should accept all the bids because they were made in good faith, and once the property is transferred to the new owner, it will return to the tax roll. He pointed out there’s no guarantee the next bid would be any higher than the present bid.
He and Percy cast the only no votes on the amended resolution, meaning eight of the 10 properties will be sold to the highest bidders, and the county will continue ownership of the two properties.
One of the properties is a single family home in Rushville that has a full market value of $55,900, according to Real Property Department information. The high bid, which was not accepted, was $6,000, which is less than the total delinquent taxes due.
The other property is a 56 acre parcel in Middlesex with a full market value of $65,900. The high bid, which was not accepted, was $5,002.
Periodically, when property owners fall behind on their property tax payments, the county will acquire the property for back taxes, and then offer it for sale to the highest bidder. The legislature reserves the right to accept bids or not.
Chairman Timothy Dennis noted the legislators have been discussing whether to establish minimum bids for the sale of property taken for non-payment of taxes.
Other business at the July 13 meeting included:
• INVASIVE SPECIES: The legislators unanimously approved a resolution proclaiming July 12–18 as Invasive Species Awareness Week. Bill Laffin, president of the Keuka Lake Association, reported on the Boat Launch stewardship project. Nineteen volunteers have logged 60 hours of work at the Penn Yan Village launch as of July 9, making contact with 282 boats and 511 people. The volunteers have found organisms on 16 boats. The species found on the boats included Eurasian watermilfoil, curly-leaf pondweed, zebra mussel, and unknown invasive species. Laffin reported that through contact with bass fishermen, KLA volunteers have confirmed the presence of rudd in Keuka Lake. Rudd is a non-native fish that competes with native fish for food. Laffin said fishermen are discouraged from releasing the fish back into the lake after they have been caught.
• FLCC: Legislators heard a report from FLCC President Barbara Risser, who provided information on the Viticulture & Wine Technology Center, professional development opportunities and tuition-free high school programs. She said 6 percent of the FLCC student population is from Yates County.
• Hazardous Waste Day: Legislators authorized Dennis to sign an agreement with Schuyler County to hold a Hazardous Waste Day. Yates County will contribute $2,000 toward the cost, and provide a dump truck for the event, which will be held Sept. 19 in Watkins Glen.
• Nonsupport: The legislators unanimously agreed to send a message of non-support for legislation that has been passed in the state senate and assembly. The county lawmakers, at the recommendation of Sheriff Ronald Spike, say the legislation, which makes amendments to a current law about security restraints for pregnant prisoners, amounts to an unfunded mandate that is extraordinarily burdensome with excessive language. Dennis said the legislation “popped up” at the end of the session, and various entities were never given an opportunity to make comments.