2nd tax lien sale bring in close to $1M

Published 10:30 am Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The county’s second tax lien sale didn’t hit a million, but it came close. Between proceeds that came from Monday morning’s courthouse sale and property owners who paid their back taxes beforehand, the county got $895,565.

And the biggest winners are the school districts that will get between 75 to 80 percent of that money.

“I thought it went pretty well,” County Treasurer Stephen Burcham said. “You want to sell more parcels, but the economy and the time of year didn’t lend itself to that.”

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A total of 32 blocks of parcels out of around 200 individual properties were sold. Some of those parcels were packaged in groups.

Before the sale owners of 386 parcels came in to pay $787,839 in back taxes to be added to the $107,726 that the sale brought in.

The single largest parcel had back taxes of $20,057.47 and was owned by Able Medical Transport, according to Burcham.

Burcham plans to find buyers for the properties that didn’t sell at the auction.

“I will entertain an offer from a large company to sell them as a block,” he said. “Hopefully this will clean a lot of them out.”

A tax lien sale is where potential buyers bid not on the taxes or the property but on an interest rate they may receive if the property owner redeems the parcel.

Owners have one year in which to pay all taxes and get their property back. If they do or if mortgage holders redeem the property, they must pay the lien sale buyers the amount of the back taxes, plus a specified interest rate on those taxes, along with administrative fees, penalties and interest. That rate starts at 18 percent and goes down by quarter-percent points incrementally during the auction.

On average the interest rate on Monday’s sale ranged from 18 percent to 14 and a half percent.

A third sale is scheduled for Monday, Dec. 13, at 10 a.m. at the courthouse. Potential buyers can register now at the treasurer’s office until the day of the sale. They must put down $500 in cash before the sale and must pay at least 10 percent of the back taxes by the end of the sale day. They have until the end of the week to pay the balance.

“In the few sales we have had, it has increased collections by $1.3 million,” Burcham said. “I think it has been a valuable tool for the county.”