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Cayuga County Legislature approves outside counsel for potential foreclosure

The Cayuga County Legislature Thursday voted to approve an agreement with an outside legal firm to provide specialized advice on the potential foreclosure of a piece of tax-delinquent property.

Legislators voted in favor of signing an agreement with Knauf Shaw, LLP, for an amount not to exceed $15,000, for legal services to deal with a distressed property in the village of Port Byron.

The agreement revolves around the former Church Street high school in the village. The property is divided into two parcels, one of which is tax-delinquent.

The county has refrained from foreclosing on the property for some time, however, because the entire structure is considered distressed and comes with a number of potential environmental issues.

While the county has already been approached by a developer interested in both parcels, those issues could result in a considerable cost to the county if any were to arise after it had taken ownership through the foreclosure process.

To assist with that, county attorney Fred Westphal recommended the Knauf Shaw firm, as they specialize in such properties. Specifically, the firm would help the county minimize liabilities while transferring ownership to any interested developer, according to Westphal at previous committee meeting discussions.

The resolution presented Thursday was amended at this month’s Ways and Means Committee meeting, as some legislators were not comfortable with the original text providing for a three-year agreement, rather than limiting the agreement to this specific project as ultimately approved.

The Auburn Citizen:
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