Onondaga County officials are pushing commercial property owners to pay-up or give-up, if they refuse to return their millions of dollars in back taxes.
The county executive announced a new strategy to seize the tax-delinquent commercial spaces and redevelop them. He created the Onondaga County Accountability and Reinvestment Corporation to oversee the properties.
The first site will be 56 Industrial Drive in Solvay. It was a coal-fired power plant.
The owners owe more than $1 million in taxes and haven't paid since 2015. Other properties that may be eligible for oversight include more industrial sites, a hotel and marina.
In order for the corporation to take a property, the county legislature must approve the transfer.
One chairman says taxpayers are losing money while these properties sit vacant.
"There are lots of things that make this property attractive, the location, the utilities, the rail line," said Dave Knapp, the Onondaga County Legislature chairman. "So, from that standpoint, it is a property we should be able to take, improve and redevelop."
"Many of them are performing commercial properties that are receiving revenue that are just not paying taxes," said County Executive Ryan McMahon. "So, that's why we look for a carrot and stick approach, but at this point we're coming down with a stick on these property owners to force their hands."
The executive says the county is owed more than $45 million in back taxes from the past three years.
Shoppingtown Mall alone owes nearly $10 million.