PATERSON, NJ- A plan to infuse $2 million into Paterson’s budget moved forward on Tuesday with the City Council approving an auction of 46 city-owned properties. The final vote came after lengthy discussions between residents and council members about the importance of promoting home ownership as a means of building stronger communities.

First Ward Councilman Michael Jackson was the lone dissenting vote on both measures, the first to approve the auction, and the second to award a contract to Max Spann Real Estate & Auction Co. to act on behalf of the city as the auctioneer.

Under the plan, the auction will be held in Council Chambers on March 15 at 12:00 p.m. Successful purchasers will be required to bid a minimum of 20 percent of the assessed value of any property, with all sales subject to final approval by the city council.

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Much of the dissenting discussion regarding the auction centered around concerns that residents were at a disadvantage to “developers with deeper pockets.”

Careful not to discount these concerns Councilman Ken Morris, Chair of the Council Finance Committee, said that while developers may have “more resources” it is not clear whether or not there is interest from outside the city to acquire the available lots. Morris encouraged residents to attend the scheduled information sessions as well as the auction, even if they are not ultimately a successful bidder, to “participate and learn about the process.”

“This is an opportunity to empower Patersonians to come out and purchase property,” stated Councilman Andre Sayegh. Acknowledging that “the highest bid wins,” Sayegh said that the auction is a “fair and open process” putting all participants on an “even playing field.”

According to the resolution appointing Max Spann Real Estate & Auction Co to conduct the auction, the firm will also be required to “advertise the auction” and to “take any and all other action to effect an advantageous sale of the property,” that is being made available for purchase. Their services come at no cost to the city with the firm receiving a commission from the buyer equal to 10 percent of the sale price.

Saying that the diverse list includes vacant lots, homes in various states of repair, and even commercial properties, Bob Dann, the firm’s executive vice president and chief operating officer, told TAPinto Paterson “we have now been tasked with making this auction as financially successful as possible,” and that their years of experience prove their ability to meet the high standards expected of them. “We are grateful for the trust and faith that the city council, and Paterson residents, have placed in us.”

Dann further encouraged all residents and interested parties to attend one or both of the information sessions they will host February 21 and 28. Both sessions will be held at City Hall and begin at 12:00 p.m.