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County hopes to make a million

Second tax lien sale set for Monday

The second tax lien sale in Lawrence County won’t be for another week, but already the treasurer’s office has brought in $600,000.

That’s because property owners behind on their taxes have come in to pay up before those liens go on the auction block.

“We have collected $600,000 or had arrangements to be made on payments,” County Treasurer Stephen Burcham said. “That is quite a large amount.”

In August the county held its first tax lien sale that collected just over $90,000. The next sale will be Monday at 10 a.m. on the first floor of Lawrence County Courthouse and will follow the same format as before.

Bidders are vying not to buy property, but rather to become the first tax lien holders on the parcels. The successful bidders pay only the back taxes on the property, plus administrative costs, penalties and interest.

The bidding will determine the interest rate the lien buyer can receive if the property owner redeems the parcel. That interest rate begins at 18 percent and goes down by quarter percent.

For lien buyers to get the property, they must foreclose against the property, which they can do after holding the property for a year.

As of Monday there are 430 parcels with $1.05 million in back taxes scheduled for the sale.

“Originally we started out with 705,” Burcham said. “Approximately 275 have come in and made payments or arrangements.”

The highest amount of back taxes owed for this sale is $20,000 on a single parcel. Most of the properties fall in the $1,500 to $4,000 range.

“We did the largest balances first and since we have been successful to getting the largest balances taken care of we have moved down to somewhat smaller amounts,” Burcham said.

Bidders can register to participate this week at the treasurer’s office between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. The office will close on Thursday for Veteran’s Day.

All bidders have to put down $500 in cash before they can participate and have to pay at least 10 percent of the back taxes of the parcel at the time of the sale. They have until Friday to pay the balance. The registration fee will be refunded if the bidder doesn’t buy any property.

“Some parcels will be sold in small groups. Not all will be sold individually,” Burcham said.

A third tax sale is set for Dec. 13.