Cayugas buy 58th property

By: David L. Shaw
SENECA FALLS — The Cayuga Indian Nation has purchased its 58th property in this Seneca County town.

The Seneca Falls-based tribe bought a 0.76-acre parcel at 3047 E. Bayard St. Ext. from Timothy and Christine Dean Feb. 27. They paid $170,000 for property assessed at $125,000.

It is the 16th parcel the Cayugas have bought on East Bayard Street Extension since March 2008. Overall, the tribe has paid $8.8 million for properties assessed at $6 million.

The tribe pays property taxes when the deed is transferred, but does not pay taxes after it acquires the property. As a result, the Cayugas are more than $1.17 million in arrears when it comes to unpaid property taxes.

The tribe owns 58 parcels in Seneca Falls, totaling slightly more than 992 acres. They also own three parcels in Varick totaling 145.8 acres, along with 243 acres in Cayuga County.

The Cayugas have applied to put 129 of those acres into federal, tax-exempt trust. A decision is pending on that request.

Seneca County has gone to court to foreclose on five tax-delinquent properties. That case was argued before the U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan Jan. 7. Both sides are awaiting a ruling.

The tribe’s Feb. 27 acquisition prompted Brad Jones, a member of the Citizens Advisory Committee to the Seneca County Board of Supervisors’ Indian Affairs Committee, to suggest that water and sewer service be shut off to all Cayuga Nation properties three years or more in arrears on property taxes, and to consider adopting a local law prohibiting the Nation from buying new properties until back taxes are paid.

The Indian Affairs Committee was set to discuss the issue Tuesday night.

The Cayugas are paid up on all Seneca Falls water and sewer bills for the properties they own.