Public meeting to discuss buyout progress

Jay Supervisor and Essex County Board Chairman Randy Douglas.

Jay Supervisor and Essex County Board Chairman Randy Douglas. Photo by Daniel E. Alexander.

— Essex County will host a public meeting in the town of Jay to update those waiting on property buyouts in the wake of flooding from Tropical Storm Irene on where the process is.

A public information meeting will be held Monday, Sept. 23, at 6 p.m. at the Town of Jay Community Center to advise people on the progress of the property buyout program.

“We are doing everything within our power to close them out by the end of the year,” County Planner Mike Mascarenas said. “Letters went out to those involved in the program to tell them about the meeting.”

County Chairman and Jay Supervisor Randy Douglas said all are invited.

“The public is invited, not just the homeowners,” Douglas said. “It is a complicated process and we are going to update them as much as we are able to now. It is crunch time now because if we do not have all the information that we need then they will not be able to proceed.”

Part of the needed work is having to make sure that titles on any property up for a buyout are clean.

“Taxes have to be up to date,” Douglas said. “Some do not have all of the information back to us that they need to.”

“Until we get those clean titles then we will not be able to process them,” Mascarenas said. “If they have a clear title, then they will be at the front of the line. If there are significant deficiencies in their titles that will have to be cleaned up and those could take several months.”

Douglas said that there are some properties that are on the verge of being bought out through the county with funding from federal and state agencies.

“We are going to start with the first five or six that are clean titles and get the reimbursement out there and then continue on from there,” he said.

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