On Tuesday, SRI, Inc. (Indianapolis) Owner James Hughes directed the Commissioners' Certificate Sale in the Clay County Courthouse Rotunda in front of numerous bidders and onlookers.
"We had a total of 53 registered bidders, which is more than we had at the countywide tax sale in December," Clay County Deputy Auditor Erica Stallcop told The Brazil Times. "It seemed like a lot of owners who are adjacent to the delinquent parcels were here, so it is obvious sending letters to them helped."
The initial 791 properties listed as delinquent had been whittled down to 125 following December's tax sale, many of which had been redeemed by the home owners prior to the sale, with 113 auctioned off.
Up to the time of Tuesday's sale, an additional 25 owners had redeemed their delinquencies, leaving an even 100 up for grabs.
"Of those 100 parcels, 57 were purchased during Tuesday's sale," Stallcop said. "With the reduced prices the commissioners set, it was good for a total of $73,437.12 of the $99,447 in delinquencies and penalties set for the 57 parcels in the December sale."
In an effort to entice resident to purchase parcels, some of which would require building demolition, the commissioners had reduced the price of a few properties down to $150. This was done because they did not feel an individual would purchase a property with $5,000 in delinquencies, only to dole out more funds to demolish the building, and the price was chosen in order to cover vender fees from SRI and advertising costs.
Commissioner Paul Sinders was pleased with the turnout for the sale and felt the ideas to reduce the sale price of certain properties and notify adjacent property owners paid off.
"It was an excellent turnout and I truly appreciate the interested garnered in the sale," Sinders said. "I'm pleased to see we sold more than 50 percent of the available parcels and have the county get closer to get them all back on the tax roll."
Stallcop told The Brazil Times many of the remaining 43 parcels are vacant areas which could be useful for adjacent owners.
Sinders added the commissioners will review the parcels and determine the best plan of action for another future sale.
"We'll have to look at what we have left and what would be the most cost-effective option for selling them," he said. "Placing them on the Internet would definitely be an option, and I hope to sell as many of them as possible."
Stallcop said there were a few owners who redeemed their delinquencies immediately following the end of the December tax sale, but the Auditor's Office had not had anyone come in after Tuesday's Sale.
Winning bidders from Tuesday's sale will now have 120 days to conduct a title search and send out notices to interested parties of each parcel. At the end of the 120 days, certificate holders may petition the courts to receive the deed for the property.
Stallcop said her office recommends the hiring of legal counsel to assist in the title search because it can be a complicated process.
Sinders added he is looking forward to another future sale to eliminate all the delinquent properties in Clay County.
"We need to sell these properties to responsible individuals who are willing and able to pay their fair share," he said. "It not only benefits the county, but also the residents."