In a tax sale held early this week, Platte County recovered about half what it was owed in delinquent property taxes.
Sheila Palmer, the county’s assistant chief deputy collector, said it was a decidedly positive outcome.
“That’s the most we’ve ever sold, so it was more than we’d expected,” said Palmer. “If everything would have gotten sold, it would have been great but we’ve never had a sale like that.”
Of the 106 vacant lots and homes that went up for auction, Palmer said that 54 sold – mostly to private investors. The remaining 52 properties, which represented $131,442.19 in unpaid taxes, went without bids. The taxes on these properties will remain unpaid as well.
Selling the property doesn’t necessarily mean that it will change owners, however, explained Palmer, but does mean that the county collects on unpaid taxes on those properties.
While Monday’s sale brought in a grand total of $191,646.17, the amount that will actually be applied to taxes is $144,900.17.
The remaining $46,746 is what the county calls “over-surplus”—the leftover amounts from bidding wars on some properties which ended in closing prices that exceeded the amount of tax owed.
That over-surplus money will be held for three years by the county treasurer. Homeowners who have “lost” property in the tax sale may redeem their property by paying the amount of the bid back to the county or, their debt paid, may choose to allow the sale to go forward and collect their share of any over-surplus funds themselves.
“I think the tough economy keeps the tax sale going because people can’t come up with the money to keep the taxes going,” said Palmer.
Palmer also said that for some homeowners, not having the price of the taxes included in the mortgage loan could be a source of strain. However, said Palmer, “Most people do try to redeem it if they can.”
This early in the game, it’s difficult to tell how many will do so, she said. By way of example, though, Palmer said that in 2007, the county offered 65 properties and sold 49, but 35 of those properties were redeemed and kept by their original owners and a few others were returned to their owners for other reasons.
Over-surplus money from 2007 slated to be released to school districts this year totals $3,044.02, said Platte County Treasurer Bonnie Brown, and should be released in December.