Monday, August 28, 2023

Schuyler County Officials host adult protective event September 26 (Update: EVENT CANCELLED)

(Update: Due to circumstances, Schuyler County not able to offer this training. We apologize for any inconvenience.) The adult services division of the Schuyler County Department of Social Services welcomes the public to a series of trainings on prescription drug abuse, human trafficking and identify theft.

“Seniors and vulnerable adults are being coerced/forced to participate in illegal activity,” the announcement reads. It also notes they can get trapped by identify theft and money scams.

The program looks at ways to identify illegal activity and how to guard against it.

The trainings will be conducted by former New York State Police Instructor Michael Bruggman. Bruggman provides training to various groups including law enforcement, corrections officers, medical staff, teachers, substance abuse counselors, community groups and others.

The event will be held on September 26 at the Schuyler County Human Services Complex, 323 Owego Street, Montour Fall, New York.

As part of the events there will be a simulated drug paraphernalia display set up for the entire day. All items are safe and will contain no illegal or dangerous substances.

For more information, or to RSVP, contact the Schuyler County Department of Social Services Adult Protective Division.

Monday, August 21, 2023


Schuyler County’s annual property tax auction is scheduled to begin Monday, October 2. However, county officials are giving foreclosed property owners one last chance to avoid the loss of their land.

On Monday (August 14), the Schuyler County Legislature voted to allow former owners who lost their properties in this year’s foreclosure to submit offers to County Treasurer Holley Sokolowski to buy back the land. If accepted, County Attorney Steven Getman is authorized to prepare a deed to the former owner, returning the property.

The offer must be accompanied by payment of “the full amount of taxes, penalties, interest and other county expenses involved with the property,” the legislature held.

Offers can be accepted up to two weeks prior to the auction, or September 18, Sokolowski said.

“After the deadline, any remaining properties will be sold to the highest bidder at the county’s tax auction,” she explained.

Prior to the deadline, the county provides written notice of the buyback option to the former owners, Getman noted.

“The notice reminds them of the foreclosure and provides a way to avoid the sale,” Getman said. “Notices are sent by mail and, in addition, copies of the court’s foreclosure judgment are served on the properties by the sheriff’s department.”

The foreclosure order transferring ownership of each property to Schuyler County was entered by the New York State Supreme Court on June 27, Getman said.

The August 14 resolution is the latest step in the county’s efforts to collect overdue taxes while keeping people in their homes, Sokolowski said.

According to Sokolowski, each November, the county mails out Foreclosure Notices and Petitions to properties with back tax liens from the prior year. Those notices go out by both regular and certified mail to property owners, mortgage holders and others with identified interests in the delinquent properties. The notice warns that failure to pay the back taxes can result in a court order foreclosing on the property.

The county also publishes a list of the delinquent taxes in two local newspapers and, in certain cases, posts warnings on the properties that they could be sold for back taxes, she said.

In addition, though not required by law, in February, Sokolowski and Getman sent letters, with handwritten notes on the envelopes, to property owners who still had not paid their back taxes, in an effort to prevent foreclosure.

“That cut the delinquent list by more than half,” Sokolowski said. “A lot of people came in and paid when they got the letters.”

Finally, property owners were invited to attend an online conference with state-appointed court attorney/referee, to discuss settlement options with county officials.

Only after each of those steps occurred, Getman explained, did the court enter a judgment foreclosing on the property.

Under the law, after the foreclosure order, the county conducts a tax auction in order to satisfy delinquent property taxes, Getman said. At the auction, the property will go to the highest bidder. The successful bidder must pay the taxes due with any other lawful charges and fees and, is given a quitclaim deed to the property. Sale proceeds are then used to make the county whole for missed taxes, he explained.

“Pursuant to a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision, any surplus funds obtained as a result of the sale will be held in escrow, pending a determination of claims to those funds, above and beyond the county’s costs,” Getman said.

The properties to be auctioned will be posted on the county's website and in pamphlets available at the treasurer's office, Sokolowski said.

As County Treasurer, Sokolowski is the fiscal officer of county government and enforcement officer for unpaid property tax liens.

As County Attorney, Getman is the chief legal advisor for county government and responsible for the prosecution and defense of civil actions brought by and against the county, including tax matters.

The current chair of the Schuyler County Legislature is Carl Blowers. The resolution to allow the buy-back was introduced by the county’s “management and finance” committee, chaired by legislator Phil Barnes.

For more details on the buyback program, the tax auction and other aspects of the foreclosure process, interested persons can contact the county treasurer (607-535-8181) or visit the county’s website.

Friday, August 18, 2023

New law causing confusion over car insurance costs

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As of August 1, state law will automatically enroll New Yorkers in additional coverage that you may not need.

“Everybody is now going to be automatically enrolled with the supplemental spousal liability coverage whether they’re married or not so it is causing some confusion and some concern with a lot of the insured,” explained David Kirst, senior insurance specialist with AAA. Kirst told Capitol Correspondent, Amal Tlaige, right now, if someone were to get in an accident with their spouse at fault they’d only have access to the personal injury protection. “Which will cover medical payments up to $50,000 if they just have the basic personal injury protection, but they are not gonna have access to any of the bodily injury liability limits.”


While enrollment is automatic, Kirst said you can opt-out, “But they have to do it in writing. You are going to have a declination form that you will have to sign saying ‘I do not want this coverage’ otherwise it’s just being added to the policy.” That declination form can be found at or you can get it directly through your provider.

Monday, August 7, 2023

Second Amendment Legal Update: August 2023

A monthly update, prepared for the Schuyler County Chapter of S.C.O.P.E. NY, a statewide 501(c)4 organization dedicated to preserving the 2nd Amendment rights for the residents of New York State. For a complete copy of this month’s report, click here.