Niagara Gazette

Local News

August 5, 2013

With first sales approved, Falls officials hope sale of vacant properties takes off

With first sales approved, city officials hope sale of vacant properties takes off


Niagara Gazette — Sarah said she and Robert love living in the city, and having a large yard for the kids will give their family the best of both worlds.

“We both grew up in the country,” Sarah said. “I had 10 acres and (Robert) had 40, so we wanted the same for our kids.”

Though Robert grew up in the country his parents had lived in the city until he was born and many of his relatives still live in the Falls.

Robert said he was drawn to the city so he bought the historic home owned by Niagara Falls’ first alderman.

“I’ve always had a love for (the city),” he said.

Seth Piccirillo, the city’s director of Community Development, said the program has garnered great interest since being unveiled by his department.

“There are more (lot sales) in the pipeline,” he added.

The five lots were sold to residents for prices ranging from $100 to $500 each, with properties being sold for less than the assessed value.

Selling the lots  — the city owns about 600 — for less than the assessed value makes sense because the city will regain the loss in the form of taxes and reduced maintenance costs, Piccirillo said.

“We think it makes sense for someone to own it and take care of it,” he said.

The city can again collect taxes on the property, will shed any liability tied to the vacant lot and relieves itself of grass cutting and clean up by putting it back in the hands of a city homeowner.

“The program has a simple mission of getting lots back on the tax roll and giving neighbors a feeling of ownership over the their neighborhood,” Piccirillo said.

Council Chairman Glenn Choolokian said he is glad to see Community Development moving forward with the program.

“Anything we can do to minimize the cost to the taxpayers for different things, it’s a good thing,” he said. “We’re going to keep on doing it.”

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Do you think cigarette sales to non-Native American customers should be taxed on reservations?

Yes. Items should be taxed like they are everywhere else.
No, the indian reservations are sovereign land and they are selling them on their land.
Not up to me. Native Americans decide the rules on their land.
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