Thursday, September 9, 2010
County tax sale long and difficult
By SUE WATSON
The toughest responsibility she has as tax collector is the yearly tax sale held the last Monday in August, Betty Byrd said. This year it took two days to sell the delinquent property taxes owed for 2009.
That’s because of so many overbids, bringing in an additional $71,760 to the general county fund.
“Properties were overbid all the way to the last parcel,” Byrd said. “It took two full days to conduct the sale. That is the longest sale we have ever had. This has been the largest, longest, and most difficult tax sale I ever remember.”
In past years the tax sale has taken one day, but according to the law, it must resume the Tuesday following the tax sale day and continue until taxes on all parcels are sold.
The overbidding this year raised extra money and more money than last year, which brought in $67,000 in overbidding for 2008 taxes that were delinquent, Byrd said.
In a round-robin bid process, the bid order travels around the room where a person can place a bid when it becomes their turn or they can pass. In overbidding, a person can bid over the tax amount after the person gets a fair chance to bid on a parcel or pass. Once an overbid is made, others may continue to bid until no one raises the last bid. One parcel with $35,000 owed in taxes was overbid by $3,000, Byrd said.
Marshall County has 23,671 parcels on the real property tax roll and the tax on 2,335 of those parcels were sold last week, she said.
“That’s 234 more than last year,” Byrd said.
The tax sale brought in $1,442,861.14 in taxes collected, plus the extra $71,760 in overbids. Last year $1,398,815.52 in taxes were collected at sale.
Byrd thinks the stagnant economy may have affected individual’s ability to pay 2009 property taxes, based also on the fewer number of buyers showing up this year.
“I guess the slowing economy has finally hit property owners,” she said. “Last year we had 135 buyers and this year we had 122 buyers. It was a fight to the finish.”
Now that all real property taxes have been collected for the 2009 year, the county brought in $9,700,948, the three municipalities took in $948,000, and $5.2 million was taken in for the two school districts, for a total of about $16 million, Byrd said.
“It is hard to see property owners struggling to pay taxes and not be able to make deadline,” she said. “The property owner has two years in which to redeem the property before it can be lost. Tax liens can be redeemed at the chancery clerk’s office beginning September 13.”
Byrd praised and thanked her staff for their hard work and dedication “during this very stressful time.”
“I’d also like to thank Marshall County Sheriff’s Deputy Captain David Cook for helping me keep order and for his help refereeing,” Byrd said.
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