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County forgives $60k in back taxes on dilapidated Albion houses

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 26 February 2014 at 12:00 am

Big roadblock removed for redeveloping property

Photo by Tom Rivers – This house at 136 Liberty St., and the one next door, have been sitting mostly vacant for more than a decade. The unpaid taxes were forgiven on the property today to help spur a redevelopment of the site.

ALBION – Orleans County legislators voted today to forgive about $60,000 in back taxes for two run-down houses in Albion, a decision that removes a roadblock for getting the houses knocked down and the site redeveloped.

The two houses, at 134 and 136 Liberty St., are in a spot that could be potentially attractive for development, Mayor Dean Theodorakos said.

The land is right across from the new Hoag Library, and many businesses are within walking distance.

“It’s appealing because it’s all walkable with the library, Tim Hortons, Ace Hardware and the churches,” the mayor said this evening.

The county voted to forgive the taxes, and would like to see the houses demolished so the land could be reused. It isn’t the norm for the county to forgive the taxes. The property is owned by the county and will be transferred to the village. The county can forgive taxes if the property is owned by a municipality, the EDA or a non-profit.

The village has obtained two bids from licensed asbestos contractors for a controlled demolition. It would cost $64,975 for the demolition.

Theodorakos said the village doesn’t have that in it’s budget in the immediate future.

He would welcome a scenario where a developer would pay to remove the two houses and add a residential project. He thinks the site would be ideal for a senior citizen complex given the close access to so many businesses and other services.

He thanked the county for forgiving the taxes today. That made a redevelopment $65,000 cheaper for a developer.

“We felt like they were in a no-win situation,” Chuck Nesbitt, the county’s chief administrative officer, said about the rundown properties. “It’s difficult for the villages to decide what to do with properties that are challenged.”

Nesbitt and David Callard, the Legislature chairman, are hopeful a new building or complex is built at the Liberty Street site soon.

“We want to see it return to a productive use,” Nesbitt said.