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Foreclosure Auction Scheduled for Next Week

By Eileen Buckley

Buffalo, NY – The City of Buffalo is cracking down on delinquent taxpayers. A three day foreclosure auction is set for next week.

About 3,700 homes are slated to hit the auction block Monday. Top bidders will have a chance to purchase the homes scattered throughout Buffalo.

The city is foreclosing on owners who have repeatedly failed to pay up. But it is not just for delinquent property taxes. Many city homeowners say they're having a very tough time paying water bills and the garbage user fee. Attorney Bob Elardo is with the Erie County Bar Association's Volunteer Lawyers project. The organization works with low-income residents. Elardo says they are trying to save about 20 homes from foreclosure.

"One of the complaints they have is the city has refused to accept partial payments," Elardo said. "For our clients, coming up with the lump sum, especially a few times during the year when the bill is due, is difficult."

But Mayor Anthony Masiello says for those residents who only owe a few hundred dollars, the city will try to work out some type of payment plan.

"In legitimate situations of real hardship, we don't want their homes," Masiello said. "On the other hand, going over the list, there are people who owe thousands of dollars in their water bills and user fees. To me, these are people who are never going to pay them."

Masiello says Buffalo can no longer afford to allow residents to receive services without paying for them. Free legal assistance is being offered today and tomorrow at the Erie County Court house for those who can not afford an attorney and are subject to foreclosure.

The auction is set for Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday of next week at the Buffalo Convention Center. Some residents say they are planning to protest.