The first of two planned Madison County tax sales in 2010 will be held May 4.
The legals section in the Journal this week includes 50 ads for delinquent taxpayers, who are two or more years behind on their taxes, who could see their property auctioned at the courthouse door if they don’t pay in full by the sale date.
Tax commissioner Louise Watson said the county’s tax sales will be divided into two events: a May 4 sale for delinquent property owners with last names beginning with A to G, and a second sale for H to Z sometime in August or September.
There were initially 103 property owners included in the May 4 sale date, but that number had dropped to 50 by press time, because a number of owners have paid in full.
Watson said Delinquent Tax Services, which handles the title searches for the tax sale properties, couldn’t process more than approximately 100 cases now, given that the service is working with a number of counties. So, Watson opted to take care of the delinquent cases with last names beginning with A to G.
Watson said a number of delinquent taxpayers with names beginning with H to Z have recently paid their taxes. She said she is unable to offer a tally right now on how many delinquent tax cases are still on the books.
“I’m constantly getting people coming in and paying,” said Watson.
She expects that many of the remaining cases will be resolved by the next tax sale.
“I don’t think it will be that many when it comes up for the next one,” she said.
In 2004, when the last county tax sale was held, only four properties were actually up for sale at the courthouse door, said Watson.
The tax commissioner said she will soon go out and personally place tax sale signs on properties for sale in the next week.
“I’ll actually go out this end of this week or next week and actually put a sign on the property,” said Watson.
On May 4, DTS will read the properties for sale at the courthouse door, but Watson said she sometimes handles the reading at the auction.
Watson said that people losing their property is a sad thing.
“I’d rather them pay it,” said Watson. “I don’t want to sell their property at the courthouse door.”
She said that as of last week collections on 2009 taxes were approximately 82 percent. The tax commissioner said she’s seeing people who are late who’ve never been late before.
“A lot people have been laid off and sometimes both of them have been laid off or put on short time,” said Watson. “So many people now live paycheck to paycheck to survive.”