Kearns To Fight Proposed Zombie Property Plans
September 10, 2019
Source: Spectrum News
The City of Buffalo’s newly revised tax foreclosure process is drawing criticism from Erie County leaders who would no longer get their piece of the pie.
The plan is under fire from Erie County Clerk Mickey Kearns less than a month away now from the tax foreclosure auction.
Kearns, along with the Western New York Law Center, expressed concern to the city’s finance committee.
Under a newly revised policy, the city will keep all of the funds after a property is sold, instead of hanging on to what it’s owed and forwarding any surplus funds to the county.
Kearns says the city has already budgeted $4.8 million in revenue from the new procedure — funds Kearns says are vital to the former property owners who, under the former policy, were able to apply for some of those funds back to help get the back on their feet.
City leaders say people in good standing would be entitled to those profits but those opposed say there’s nothing in writing outlining that process.
“Unfortunately sometimes people lose their homes for many different reasons. That surplus funding is really important. Why kick people when they’re down? They’re going through a tough time, they could use those surplus funds to transfer into maybe a rental property,” Kearns (D) said.
“We believe the plan needs a lot more work and is not ready to be implemented next month. And we would ask for the council’s support in urging the city to hold off and hash these issues out a little more thoroughly,” said Amy Gathings, of the WNY Law Center.
Kearns says if the policy stands, the city would also take ownership of zombie properties in Buffalo as well, and would be charged with taking care of them.
City leaders don’t have a lot of time to rehash the issue, as the auction is set for October 8.