The number of properties to be auctioned off by Warren County next month for nonpayment of taxes is on track to more than double over last year’s number.
The county will have about 70 pieces of property on the auction block on Oct. 20. Most of the properties are vacant land or land with vacant homes on them, with only one or two occupied homes expected to make the final list, said Lexie Delurey, the county’s director of real property and tax services.
“There are not a lot of occupied residences,” she said.
Unlike past years, no high-value commercial properties are on the list to be sold.
Two years ago, three large area motels and hotels were headed to auction, only to be taken off when their owners settled up shortly before the auction.
Last year, the county had 28 properties go to auction for failure to pay taxes, and the year before the number was 37.
Continuing economic problems across the country have resulted in higher rates of property foreclosures by banks in recent years for mortgage nonpayment, spikes that have been noticed in area counties since 2008. But the rate had slowed earlier this year, according to national statistics.
Officials in neighboring Washington County saw a small rise in properties seized for back taxes when that county did its auction earlier this year.
Delurey said it was unclear what caused the list to lengthen dramatically this year in Warren County.
County Treasurer Michael Swan, who was the county real property tax services director for more than 20 years before becoming treasurer in January and whose office oversees tax collections, said he also did not know why the list swelled this year.
A number of the properties that will go up for auction are ones that have lingered on the delinquent tax list for years and whose owners had made efforts in the past to keep the properties, he said.
Swan said the county works with owners to try to avoid the auction.
“The bottom line is we don’t want to take people’s property,” Swan said.
The auction will take place Oct. 20 in front of the Warren County Municipal Center on Route 9 in Queensbury, with registration starting at 9 a.m.