The largest tax sale in the history of Clay County was smaller than it might have been.
Initially, 791 parcels were eligible to be sold in the tax sale, but in recent weeks, more than 500 homeowners have made good by paying delinquent property taxes before Friday.
"We ended up having 238 properties in the sale," Clay County Deputy Auditor Erica Stallcop told The Brazil Times. "However it was still the largest tax sale we have had."
She added 2006 was previously the largest sale, where 204 were on the docket.
A large crowd gathered in the Rotunda of the Clay County Courthouse to place bids on the available properties. SRI, Inc. (Indianapolis) Owner James Hughes directed the sale as Vice President Brad Engler recorded the sales "We had 50 people register to participate in the sale," Stallcop said. "Most of them made numerous bids while some just came to watch the process, but it was a very successful sale."
Of the 238 available properties, 113 (47.5 percent) were sold which Stallcop said was the typical percentage sold in any given tax sale.
A total of $368,625.39 in delinquent property taxes comprised the 238 parcels in the sale, and at least $138,764.14 was regained from the 113 sales.
"In cases where the property sold for more than the minimum amount, the surplus is placed in a separate fund," Clay County Auditor Mary Jo Alumbaugh said.
Winning bidders will now receive a tax sale certificate for each respective purchased property. The certificates are good for one year, in which time, the current owner of the property may still reconcile the delinquencies, with various penalties added.
"There is 10 percent penalty added to all the properties, whether they are sold or not," Alumbaugh said. "Plus, homeowners wanting to redeem would also have to pay interest on any surplus that may come as part of a sale."
Also during the same time period, holders of a tax sale certificate must conduct a title search on the property, send out notices to those with a vested interest in the property and petition the court for an order to receive a tax deed.
If the homeowner makes good on the delinquencies within the year, the winning bidder will receive their money back. However, if the year passes without reconciliation and the bidder does not complete all the necessary steps to acquire the property, the certificate expires and the money is not refunded.
The Clay County Commissioners obtained the remaining 125 properties not sold during Friday's sale and may conduct other sales in the future.
"It has not yet been determined what they will do at this time," Stallcop said. "SRI should be at the January Commissioners meeting to determine the next step.
To view properties in the Clay County 2008 Tax Sale, visit www.sri-taxsale.com.