During a special meeting Monday, the Clay County Commissioners analyzed each of the 121 properties anticipated to be involved in a certificate sale later this year.
Prices were readjusted on many of the available parcels in hopes to sell them at a more affordable level.
For some of the available properties, the commissioners chose to drop the delinquent fees and penalties, leaving only the unpaid taxes as the sale price.
In other cases the prices were set at $150 for parcels with unpaid taxes less than that amount, as well as for specific instances where dilapidated properties were involved.
"I don't see anyone bidding on a property with $3,000-4,000 in unpaid taxes when they have to spend a lot more on top of that to tear the building down because it is uninhabitable," Commissioner Paul Sinders said. "However, at $150, it gives people the chance to buy the property at a reasonable price and provide a more affordable opportunity to beautify the area."
Sinders added the $150 price tag was chosen in order for the county to be able to cover the $120 cost that is paid to SRI, Inc., Indianapolis, on each property that is sold, along with advertising costs. SRI is the company which assisted the county during December's tax sale and is helping to organize future sales.
"The $150 is a starting bid that is still affordable, and it keeps the county from losing money on a sale as well," Commissioners' President Charlie Brown said. "However, we are hoping to get a little more out of some of the properties."
For the remainder of the properties, however, the price of the starting bids will remain the same as they were in December.
In these situations, parcels were originally set with starting bids less than $150 and the commissioners felt it was best not to lower the prices further.
"If a property wasn't bought for $100 in the first sale, it won't go for $150 this time around," Sinders said. "However, by keeping the price the same on those properties, it reduces the amount of loss the county would incur and give bidders who may have run out of money the first go around a second chance to make a purchase they originally wanted to make."
In anticipation of another live auction, the commissioners plan to notify homeowners adjacent to the available properties in homes they would be interested in improving the lay of the land.
While 121 properties are currently slated to be involved in the sale, the number could go down if owners redeem the full amount of taxes, delinquencies and penalties owed.
"Also, if someone who currently owns a property on the list files for bankruptcy, we cannot sell that specific parcel," Clay County Deputy Auditor Erica Stallcop said. "We have had that happen a couple of times already."
The commissioners will continue to review the available properties to potentially make additional adjustments to the costs during the next week. In the meantime, Commissioners' Attorney Eric Somheil will draft a resolution, which would lock the prices in and will be reviewed at the commissioners next regularly scheduled meeting.
Once the resolution passes, the prices will be advertised in the newspaper for three consecutive weeks, and a sale would be able to occur at least 30 days after the final advertisement. If it passes during the commissioners' Feb. 2 meeting, the sale would have the potential of happening March 20 at the earliest. However, under those circumstances, the sale would most likely occur sometime in April.
The commissioners will next meet Monday, Feb. 2, at 9 a.m., in the Commissioners' Courtroom at the Clay County Courthouse.