County should push tax sale

Published 11:00 pm Saturday, August 22, 2009

Nearly 100 pieces of property were recently taken from deadbeat owners and will again become contributing parts of Lawrence County’s tax base.

The county had its third delinquent property sale last week. Even though the values had to be greatly reduced, the reality is that these properties were contributing nothing to the county as they were. All told, the county generated more than $338,000 in bids, payments and fees, most of which will go to the appropriate school districts.

Lawrence County started out with more than 200 parcels against which legal action was taken. All the properties were at least two years delinquent before being placed up for auction.

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Lawrence County Treasurer Stephen Dale Burcham now has two options.

The county can continue to carry the parcel and the unpaid taxes on its books or Burcham can have the State of Ohio take ownership of the property. Then, the Lawrence County Auditor can sell the property at an auditor’s sale at the county courthouse.

Lawrence County has never conducted an auditor’s sale like this but now seems like a perfect time to start.

All of the pieces of property have been delinquent for years and the property owners have been given significant opportunity to correct this problem. They have chosen not to do so.

Burcham has given any property owners who do want to correct the problem a variety of options.

The owners of the pieces of property that are being auctioned are the ones who have consistently shown a disregard for the system and refusal to be contributing parts of society. The rest of the taxpayers shouldn’t be asked to subsidize this.

Ultimately, it is Lawrence County’s schools that get hurt when someone refuses to pay their property taxes. Now is time the county to fight back against those who are essentially stealing opportunities from our youth.