On Monday, SRI, Inc., Indianapolis, conducted a countywide tax sale in the Clay County Courthouse Rotunda.
"There weren't as many buyers or available properties this year, but I think we did well," Clay County Deputy Auditor Erica Stallcop told The Brazil Times.
Stallcop said there were 308 properties listed on the initial advertisement, but by the time the sale began, only 195 remained.
"We sold tax certificates for 57 properties with tax delinquencies and penalties totaling $54,044.50," she said. "There were 28 or 29 people who registered as buyers, but only about 10 of them did the majority of purchasing."
Although fewer properties were sold compared to a typical tax sale, Stallcop said it was successful.
"Of the remaining properties, I would say there are a lot of vacant lots, which normally don't garner much interest," she said.
With tax sale certificates being sold at this sale, buyers have one year to complete the necessary process to obtain a tax deed for the respective properties.
Some of the buyer's responsibilities include:
* Initiate a Title Search to identify the legal owner and any persons with a substantial interest of public record,
* Send a Notice of Sale to the owner and those with substantial interest no less than three months prior to the end of the redemption period, and
* Petition the court for a Tax Deed if the original owner does not redeem the property within the year following the date of the tax sale.
Should the owner fully redeem all delinquencies and penalties prior to the end of the redemption period, the individual who purchased the tax sale certificate would be reimbursed for their purchase, plus 10 percent per annum of the amount paid above the minimum sale price.
The buyer could also be reimbursed by the owner for the amount of the title search expenses, but only if a form 137B is filed with the Clay County Auditor's Office prior to the redemption date and as long as the amount does not exceed what has been established by the county.
Stallcop said Monday's sale -- which was only the fourth since 2002 -- may have the county back on track to having a sale every year.
"As long as we can keep getting property tax collections back on the right schedule, we should be able to have a tax sale each year," she said.
The remaining 138 properties, which were not purchased in the tax sale, will be turned over to the Clay County Commissioners to decide whether or not to conduct an accelerated sale at their discretion.