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Delinquent properties going to auction

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The county will host a new type of auction this spring as another effort to collect unpaid taxes on properties.

The county will have a commissioners’ certificate sale, where 57 properties with overdue taxes will be offered at a discount. The properties weren’t purchased by anyone in the fall tax sale, where buyers can pay the total overdue taxes and become new owners of the property within a year.

The certificate sale allows the county to set a minimum bid price and auction off those properties. Commissioner Ron West suggested some properties should be offered for a starting price of $1 to entice someone to buy it and start paying property taxes again.

Many of the properties are small pieces of ground that are located between houses or landlocked by other properties or are common areas of subdivisions, which can’t be developed, West said.

The county could send letters to property owners next door to some of those pieces of land, letting them know they could add to their yards for a low price, said Joe Edwards of SRI Inc., the company that runs the county tax sale.

The commissioners have not set minimum prices or a sale date yet and will consider each property separately, West said.

For example, one property that could be listed in the sale is the former Red Carpet Inn property near Interstate 65 in Franklin. The city has a lien for about $80,000 spent to demolish the former motel building that it wants to recoup when the land is sold. The hope is to attract a new business, such as a restaurant or hotel. The county is talking with Franklin officials before making any decisions regarding that property, auditor Jan Richhart said.

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