County's auction to stay at Amsterdam hotel


Recorder News Staff

Montgomery County won't have to find a new location for its annual tax foreclosure auction later this month, despite the sale of Americas Best Value Inn during its own foreclosure proceeding Friday.

County Treasurer Shawn Bowerman said he was assured the county's auction could move forward at the Amsterdam hotel, which is located at 10 Market St.

"I've been in contact with them through the whole auction," he said. "It's my understanding it will continue to operate as a hotel, business as usual, until something else changes."

The county's auction brochure shows 111 parcels are on the block this year, but Bowerman said close to 20 have already been removed because the owners paid the delinquent taxes and fees.

He expects the number of properties will be halved to between 50 and 60 parcels by the auction, which is scheduled May 22.

"That's in the norm compared to the last four or five years," Bowerman said about the number on the block.

Bowerman said property owners have until May 17 to "re-purchase" their properties and prevent them from going to auction. They'd have to pay back all taxes, auction preparation and filing fees, and interest.

"It's not in their best interest to let it go this far -- the fees are considerable," Bowerman said.

Auction preparation fees are 10 percent of the delinquent taxes, plus extra treasurer's fees, and filing fees range between $180 and $300, Bowerman said.

"I would prefer it if everyone came in, and got their properties back," he said. "Unfortunately, it's the nature of beast. It's not a fun time having to do the auction, but it's also not fair to the 99.9 percent of taxpayers who do pay on time."

Bowerman said he hasn't received any calls from municipal officials concerned about properties of interest -- yet.

In last year's auction, Canajoharie officials and residents scrambled to get the former West Hill School off the block. The county gave it to the village, and a committee of volunteers has since been working to rehabilitate the historic structure.

"I anticipate it will happen," he said. "There's always someone with an interest in some property, but not as of yet."

One of the properties on the block this year is the former Webster Wagner mansion at 15 E. Grand St. in Palatine Bridge.

"I've had a couple calls about the Wagner's property," Bowerman said. "I don't expect it to be a huge windfall for the county, but I do hope to get it back on the tax rolls."

Wagner was a former statesman in the 19th century, and credited with inventing luxury railroad sleeping cars and palace cars.

The mansion, which was built in 1876, was added to the National Register of Historic Places in the 1970s.

Haroff Auction and Realty is conducting the auction. The brochure is available on its website,

A review of the brochure last week indicated roughly 35 of the properties are occupied homes, and another 35 were vacant lots and drives. Roughly 20 were available for inspection, and the remaining were drive-by only.