There is a right way to conduct business and a wrong way. The way in which the Essex County Board of Supervisors handled the bid from Keeseville businessman George Moore following the recent county tax auction was the wrong way.
For background, George Moore attended the April 30 county tax auction and in good faith bid $49,500 for a cluster of four parcels that once held the popular Frontier Town theme park in North Hudson. The theme park has sat vacant for years, slowly disappearing into the Adirondack wilderness, and taxes have not been paid on the four parcels since 2006.
Moore already owns the large A-frame structure at the entrance of the defunct park, for which taxes are fully paid, and his intent was to purchase the adjoining 88-acres for possible future development of a campground or summer camp.
What happened following the auction is what truly has us puzzled. During a May 12 committee meeting, county supervisors voted 17-0 to reject Moore’s bid and instead accept a $60,000 offer made on behalf of the town of North Hudson by Supervisor Ronald Moore.
Supervisor Moore said county officials had discussed not accepting a bid on the former theme park of less than $146,000, the amount of back taxes owed, and said the 88-acres has considerable value to his town — possibly as a business park — because the small community has virtually no private property available for development.
In our opinion, the supervisor should be commended for his forward thinking, but the sequence of events that led to his offer was completely flawed.
First, if the town were truly interested in the parcel, why not put a representative at the tax sale to bid alongside everyone else? Since the parcels had been seized by the county for back taxes, and therefore by default owned by county taxpayers, wouldn’t it be in the best interest of those taxpayers to receive as much as possible for the properties through competitive bidding?