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County Tax Foreclosure Redemption Date Is Extended

Chautauqua County residents who are behind on their property taxes will be given a little more time before their property is sold in an auction.

During a special meeting Monday, the county legislature unanimously agreed to extend the 2020 tax foreclosure redemption date from Aug. 7 to April 15, 2021.

“Hopefully this will coincide with the 2021 tax foreclosure that would commence in January,” explained Stephen Abdella, county attorney.

According to Abdella, the current administrative orders of the New York justice system requires that any foreclosure including tax foreclosure that proceeds during this pandemic must have a settlement with the court and the foreclosed owner before proceeding with judgment.

“In the case of the county’s tax foreclosure, it would mean several hundred such conferences, which would logistically would be impossible to complete,” he said.

Beyond that, Abdella noted that the state has put limits on the ability to evict residential properties.

“In the case of many of our foreclosures, many are occupied by either the foreclosed owners or tenants,” he said.

Abdella noted there is concern that if an auction was scheduled, prospective buyers may be hesitant because the eviction issue. There is also questions if a county can hold in-person auctions, due to the spatial distancing requirements.

“It’s not an ideal situation,” Abdella said, referring to the delay.

County lawmakers said they understood and agreed with Abdella’s recommendation.

“I do believe this is the right thing to do and I’m very supported of this,” said Legislator Chuck Nazzaro, D-Jamestown. “It should help the property tax owners.”

He added that the 5% penalty will still be imposed and there will be a 1% interest per month charge.

“The interest will continue to accrue,” Nazzaro said.

The legislation passed unanimously.

In other business, the legislature unanimously agreed to hire Jean Riley of Findley Lake as the county’s new human resources director. Current Human Resources Director Jessica Wisniewski is moving to North Carolina. Riley’s appointment takes effect immediately, so the two can work together before Wisniewski leaves the position.

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