VALATIE–The Village Board passed a motion this week allowing Village Attorney Rob Fitzsimmons to move forward with foreclosure proceedings on several properties whose owners have not paid their village taxes. Mayor Diane Argyle said, at a board meeting, that there were property owners who were “many years behind on their taxes.”
At the February 14 meeting, Mayor Argyle said the board was already in foreclosure proceedings on a property on River Street that once housed Energy-Onix. The building has been abandoned since the company moved out several years ago. The original property owner has died and the village has had to work with his estate. The board hired a different attorney to handle that case and has been moving through the court system with that foreclosure.
Mr. Fitzsimmons said that once the board approves proceeding with the other foreclosures, he would send a letter to the property owners warning them that the village is taking legal action. He said he recently went through the process in the Village of Philmont, where he is also village attorney, and that all but one property owner managed to pay the back taxes before the village foreclosed on the property. He said once people are warned, “usually it works out” that the village receives the taxes owed.
Mr. Fitzsimmons told the board that there was a cost of about $250 for each parcel to do title search, and that could be reimbursed up to $150, and other minimal costs for the work.
“You’re talking about less than $500 to do a parcel in the end,” said Councilman Dave Williams.
Councilman Angelo Nero said of the process, “It’s going to be worth what we’re going to spend.”
Mayor Argyle said the village is owed a total of about $150,000 in back taxes. “There are some properties in the tens of thousands of back taxes owed,” she said.
Mr. Fitzsimons said he thought the liens needed to be about two years old, so they will start with people owning taxes from 2014 and earlier.
Anyone wanting to stop a foreclosure proceeding has to pay part of the debt immediately and the remaining amount within two years.
The board also discussed water and sewer bills at the meeting. They plan to start sending bills to the property owners and not tenants. The mayor pointed out that this is a requirement in the village code though the village had not followed that rule in the past.
Also at the meeting:
• The mayor started the meeting by saying that village is looking at a tight budget for 2017-18. “I believe we’re going to be short,” she said. The budget year runs from June through May. She said there are several projects that the village needs to move forward with in the new budget, including repairs to the firehouse floor and digging a new municipal well. “We need cash,” she said of the projects, stressing that the village cannot take on more debt
• The village signed the Fire District agreement with the Town of Kinderhook. Mayor Argyle said they were signing the contract under protest since they didn’t feel that the amount the town pays, $12,900, was enough for the service
• The village clerk announced that Village Historian Dominick Lizzi will be speaking at a symposium on New York Governor Martin Glynn and how being from the Village of Valatie formed him on February 18 at the Irish American Museum in Albany
• The mayor asked for comments from village residents on service from Charter Communications/Time Warner Cable. She said the village franchise agreement with the company is coming up for renewal and she wants to hear what users have to say before negotiating the new contract. Call the village office or go to www.valatievillage.com
• She also said that residents have 12 hours to clear their sidewalks after a snowstorm and that letters had been sent out to residents who did not clear their sidewalks after recent storms. She said the village will hire someone to clear the snow and charge the property owner if the owner does not get the work done. “No throwing snow into the street,” she added
•Village elections will be held on Tuesday, March 21 from noon to 9 p.m. in the Martin H. Glynn Municipal Building on Church Street. The mayor is running for another term as are trustees Frank Bevens and Larry Eleby.
The next board meeting will be Tuesday, March 14 at 7 p.m.
To contact reporter Emilia Teasdale email