The Oneida Daily Dispatch (Oneida, NY)
Chamberlain clarifies auction, city property purchase procedure
ONEIDA, N.Y. >> City Chamberlain Anna Hood has set the record straight on where local developers and handymen seeking to rehabilitate or buy excess city property should go with their projects. She shared the information after a misunderstanding between the Oneida Common Council and city resident Randy Jones during the council’s end-of-theyear meeting.
“Anyone wishing to buy and repair a home or other city property should go to Absolute Auctions,” Hood said. “They handle all of our property auctions. Someone should have told Jones this before the meeting. It all could have been avoided.”
Absolute Auctions & Realty may be contacted at www.aarauctions.com.
Hood said that, along with receiving a fair chance to bid on a home, the auction process protects the owner during the bidding process.
“The purchase was meant as a rehabilitation project, and that benefits the new owner because the tax rate stays the same,” Hood said. “The tax value would go up with each renovation, say the roof and then the siding.”
Jones had sought to buy 513 West Elm St. and repair it. The property would be considered excess property in the city and a rehabilitation project. He had presented the council with a letter outlining his plans and his intentions.
“I think the letter I sent you is factual and pretty much speaks for itself. The overall reason (for the purchase) is to improve that neighborhood, my neighborhood,” Jones said. “And I just believe that each individual steps up in their neighborhood to improve it, then it’s a step towards being a better neighbor, a better neighborhood, and truly a better city. So I will ask you not to just look at numbers but at my letter and my conversation to improve the neighborhood step by step.”
The council voted 5-0 against Jones’ purchase. Second Ward Councilman Steve Laureti was absent from the meeting.
“As of July, the city wanted to move forward with an auction and I thought we were going to
“The purchase was meant as a rehabilitation project, and that benefits the new owner because the tax rate stays the same.”
— City Chamberlain Anna Hood
move forward with that,” Third Ward Councilman Rick Rossi said. “Not that Mr. Jones will not be the one who is going to get the property in the end, and I know he’ll probably do a great job of cleaning it up, but in the fairness of everyone being able to make a bid and have their say I would be a no on this just because we already signed an agreement with the auction place, and as long as we get some properties together everyone’s able to bid.”
Jones said the auction process could leave the 513 property in the hands of someone who is uninterested in doing justice to the property.
“The property directly across from my home I’ve put a lot of money in because I want the neighborhood to look nice, my home to look nice. There’s a gentleman working on that home who’s looking to flip that house,” Jones said.
“But, no disrespect to that gentleman, if you take a drive down there, if you haven’t already, you should have. If you haven’t seen 513, you should have,” Jones continued. “I put money down on it, bid on it years ago. We sat on it, COVID hit, legalities which were never explained to me sat and got decayed even more. Nobody has looked at it but me The previous owner has made no legitimate attempt to fix that.”
Jones said he was frustrated with having to wait for the auction process and perhaps losing the property.
“As far as you think I’ll do a good job, you need to drive by my house. And then you’ll know I do a good job. There’s no b.s.,” Jones said. “It’s not about flipping it, it’s about making this neighborhood decent. So the next person who buys that home from me says ‘Hey, I’m going to take care of this.’ Wait for an auction? What are they looking for? Thirty thousand? Forty thousand? Have you done the math on what it takes to rehab these houses? Any of you?”
“Fine I’ll wait for the auction, then I’ll see the same show,” he continued. “I’ve taken three properties from the city and I’ve turned it into big money, big money, from what you had. I’ve cut your maintenance to zero. I’ve put — I can’t even think of the number — thousands of dollars back into tax revenue.”
Fifth ward Councilman Bill Pagano reiterated the need to maintain the auction process as a means to fairness.
“I appreciate all he did. It has nothing to do with our wanting to auction the property off and being fair to everyone. It’s not a personal thing,” he said. “There was an offer from the previous owner. To be fair, if they want to put an offer in for a dollar more then they have every right to do it. It has nothing to do with the neighborhood or the cost. I don’t want to go back on what we said in the past. I don’t want us to be a council that keeps flipflopping on what we said.”