By Thomas J. Prohaska, Buffalo News (NY)
For years, contaminated sites in Niagara County have been, in effect, exempt from property taxes, because the county wouldn't foreclose on them if the taxes went unpaid.
The reason was that taking title to a brownfield or other polluted site – or even one thought to be contaminated – would make the county liable for the costs of cleaning up the site.
Now the county says it has struck an agreement with the state Department of Environmental Conservation under which the county can foreclose on as many as 86 contaminated or possibly contaminated sites without being stuck with the remediation cost.
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