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The Telegram
  • Abandoned properties a concern in Frankfort

  • Mayor Frank Moracco is looking for a way to deal with abandoned houses in the village of Frankfort and throughout Herkimer County.

    He raised the issue to Jeremy Silverman, senior project manager for Grant & Essential Management Services, who attended last Thursday’s village board meeting.

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  • Mayor Frank Moracco is looking for a way to deal with abandoned houses in the village of Frankfort and throughout Herkimer County.
    He raised the issue to Jeremy Silverman, senior project manager for Grant & Essential Management Services, who attended last Thursday’s village board meeting.
    “I’m frustrated with the way the system is set up,” said Moracco.
    He noted some local municipalities have adopted or are considering a local law requiring property owners who live more than 35 miles away to provide a contact person in case of a problem, but he didn’t think this would solve the problem in the long run.
    He cited an instance in which the village codes officer had deemed a house uninhabitable, but when the property was turned over to the county for back taxes, “they sold it to someone in Long Island.”
    The house has continued to deteriorate, he said.
    “In the meantime, the village resident living next to it continues to pay village, town and county taxes,” said Moracco.
    In some cases, village public works employees have boarded up windows on a building, but if the county auctions off the property, the village has to take back any lien it has on the property.
    “The burden falls on the village,” he said.
    The mayor said the village, town and county should be cooperating to solve these problems.
    Last month the village received bids for the demolition of a deteriorating building at 202 Frankfort St., but rejected the bids as too costly.
    Moracco said Thursday village taxpayers cannot afford to pay $50,000 or more to demolish each abandoned house in the village. He estimated there might be four that should be taken down and that would total some $200,000 — “with no reimbursement,” he added.
    Superintendent Ron Vivacqua reported there had been a water break recently in an apartment building in the village. The water had to be shut off and the tenants had to move out.
    He said this could wind up being another abandoned property.
    Silverman said he would have to think about what might be available if a regional approach were taken.
    Silverman also reported the Brownfield Opportunity Area project is going well.
    The village and town of Frankfort received funding through the New York State Department of State’s Brownfield Opportunity Area Program to complete a pre-nomination study for an approximately 470-acre area between Main Street and the Mohawk River. This once-industrial area encompasses parcels of property in both the village and the town.
    A public meeting was conducted in December to seek public input on the development of the area and a committee began work on a vision statement.
    Silverman said the grant application to seek funding for the next phase of the project is due in mid-March.
    Page 2 of 2 - Moracco said the village is checking with the state Department of Environmental Conservation about the possibility that DEC might complete testing on a portion of the Union Fork and Hoe site and clear that portion for development as there is interest in the site.
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