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Changes proposed to Broome County property sellback policy

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CNY/NNY/S. Tier: Changes proposed to Broome County property sellback policy
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Broome County is looking to make a few changes to its property sellback policies. The issue has received much attention lately. Members of the legislature majority announced a new proposal to address the problem Monday. Our Melissa Kakareka has more on how it may help those people who are trying to prevent their homes from going to auction.

BINGHAMTON, N.Y. -- Volodymyr Kurylo's sister and brother have been faced with the possibility of losing their home after they were unable to pay the taxes on the property at 9 Arthur Street in Binghamton. Even after Volodymyr traveled from Maine, willing to pay all back taxes, interest and penalties for his family, he was told that it was too late.

"My sister is 62 and my brother is 64 and to have to face the fact that your home is seized and will be auctioned, I can't imagine that," said Kurylo.

While the Kurylo's situation has brought attention to the issue, Broome County legislators say they've gotten calls from other property owners who are facing the same problem. That's why the legislature majority announced a proposed change to the policy on Monday.

It would allow the director of Real Property Tax Services to consider selling a property back to prior owners if they meet certain criteria such as incompetence, lack of proper notification, catastrophic financial problems or health issues.

"Broome County should not be in the place of taking private property if it can be helped. We're here today to fix that," said Broome County Legislature Chairman Jerry Marinich.

Marinich says he believes the proposal gives people a fair way to prevent their homes from going to auction.

"I think in the end this is going to be good for all the people going forward. It gives the discretion back to the person who handles this on a day to day basis," said Marinich.

There will be a special session of the legislature this Thursday at 5 p.m. to consider the policy reforms.

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