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tax sales

Maria Ajello’s Travails Reveal Flaws In Back-Tax Collection

EDITORIAL

Maria Ajello’s Travails Reveal

Flaws In Back-Tax Collection

Editor’s note:  At readers’ requests that this editorial reach the widest local readership possible, it is being reprinted from the Hometown Oneonta & Freeman’s Journal editions of Sept. 15-16.

A comtemplative Maria Ajello reflects on her fate at the September 2014 county board meeting, two weeks after losing her house at a tax sale. Her advocate and friend, Russell Ahrens, speaks on her behalf. (AllOTSEGO.com photo)
A comtemplative Maria Ajello reflects on her fate at the September 2014 county board meeting, two weeks after losing her house at a tax sale. Her advocate and friend, Russell Ahrens, speaks on her behalf. (AllOTSEGO.com photo)

It’s time to bring Maria Ajello’s ordeal to an end, to end an unpleasantness – an injustice, even – that has been simmering for 24 months now, as she reminded the Otsego County Board of Representatives at its September meeting on the 7th.

On Aug. 20, 2014, the date of the Otsego County treasurer’s annual auction of tax-delinquent properties at the Holiday Inn on Oneonta’s Southside, Mrs. Ajello arrived with payment of the $6,700 owed, plus an additional $2,299 in interest charges.

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She was ready to pay the $8,999 total she owed on a house and 74 acres at 104 Filburn Road, hamlet of Monticello, Town of Richfield.

Due to a policy still in place, the payment was denied, and the house and land auctioned off for $75,000, plus the auctioneer’s 10 percent fee, a total $82,500.  So the County of Otsego garnered a profit of $65,001 – 650 percent – on the $8,999 total back taxes and penalties.

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