Auction seeks to recoup at least part of prior back taxes
By ERIC MEYER
As many as three dozen pieces of property, valued at almost half a million dollars, will be put up for auction Thursday in hope of recovering close to a quarter of a million dollars in back taxes and interest.
Sheriff Jeff Soyez will be auctioneer for the sale, beginning at 10 a.m. at Marion County Lake hall and conducted under the auspices of Treasurer Susan Berg.
Berg said the auction would have free bidding so anyone ccouldregister to bid, but registering in advance doesn’t give the bidder any advantage.
People can fill out a form in advance to bid.
New buyers are responsible to pay 2023 property taxes, but not back taxes. The county will pursue previous property owners for earlier unpaid taxes.
“Our goal is to get someone responsible for paying the taxes,” Berg said.
Minimum bid for each property will be $50. Not all properties may end up for sale, however. Current owners can redeem them at the last minute by paying all unpaid taxes plus at least $450 in attorney, abstract, and court fees.
State law and county procedures allow properties to be auctioned off for back taxes if owners have not paid the full amount of taxes due for three years.
However, Kelly Law Office, whom the county hired to handle tax collections and tax sales, said the property in this week’s sale are those with taxes not fully paid since 2017.
This year’s sale — the county’s first since 2020 — contains properties from 6 to 20 years’ delinquent, the average property having outstanding tax bills since 2015.
Berg said the taxes could end up that far behind if owners have been making payments in escrow, but not enough payments to catch up the total owed.
Some property owners may have been in bankruptcy proceedings.
“If they have filed bankruptcy, we cannot do anything until the bankruptcy is resolved,” she said.
The properties with the highest appraised value are two double-wide manufactured homes — one on Upland Rd. at the county lake, the other in the 300 block of N. Olive St. in Peabody.
The traditional home with the highest appraised value is nearby in the 300 block of N. Walnut St. in Peabody.
Peabody has by far the most properties on the list — 16. Florence is next with six. Marion has four; Ramona, three. No other community has more than one. Many have none.
Among the interesting properties is the former Food Mart convenience store in Peabody, appraised as being worth only $27,030 but owing $70,390.51 in taxes and interest since 2009.
In Marion, a retail store, warehouse, and apartment building just east of D&J Liquors is valued at $16,710 but owes $19,860.26.
Two unusual properties are expected to be for sale — a heavily wooded parcel just north of Bown-Corby Apartments in Marion and bounded by the former channel of Luta Creek and a tiny strip of land, apparently a driveway, on 170th Rd. between Eagle and Diamond Rds.
Appearing above is a description of the parcels scheduled to be offered at Thursday’s tax sale excluding some for which only mineral rights are being sold.