(Photo by Scott Welton, Staff)
"This year apparently I've got several new cities coming on board," said Mark Hensley, collector of revenue for Scott County. "If they're having a problem with collecting delinquent taxes, this is a tool, an avenue that's open for them to collect on real estate properties' delinquent taxes. ... Properties with three years or more delinquent taxes are subject to tax sale."
With Benton and Chaffee joining this year, a total of four cities will offer properties along with the county.
"Sikeston has always done it in conjunction with the county," Hensley said. "Scott City's been doing it for two or three years now."
Sherry Dirnberger, city collector for Chaffee, said her first publish listed 14 properties with delinquent Chaffee city taxes, but one tax bill was paid off leaving 13 remaining for the second publish today.
John Chadd, city administrator for Chaffee, said the city was not seeing an unusually high number of delinquencies.
"It wasn't that much of a problem," he said. "It's just that some of them have got to the point we needed to get them collected. ... Up until this point it hasn't been a necessity to do that."
He added: "If we get taxes that are unusually high and outstanding for three or four years back, we'll continue to participate with the county collector to collect back taxes."
The City of Sikeston has about 70 properties that will be offered, according to Vicky Jordan, Sikeston's city collector.
Hensley said if a property has both city and county taxes due, both must be bid on by the same person. "If you're not going to bid on the city's, don't bid on the county's," he said.
Thursday around 140 properties with delinquent taxes were published. The second publish appears in today's papers and a third publishing will run Aug. 5.
The tax sale will be held Aug. 23 as state statutes mandate the sales to be held on the fourth Monday in August.
Those participating in the real estate tax sale must register before making bids. Registration will begin at 8:30 a.m. "The tax sale starts at 10 a.m. and will go until finished," Hensley said. "Normally we're done by noon."
Only Missouri residents may bid unless arrangements have been made with the collector in advance, and those with delinquent property taxes as of the day of the sale may not bid.
Those who are considering making a tax sale purchase should know, Hensley said, that they initially get no rights to take possession of the property.
"First thing is, if you're buying a first or second offering, you're not buying that piece of property - you're buying a tax lien on that property," he explained.
Those who have made purchases before should take note of some new rules. "There's a one-year redemption period - that property owner has one year to redeem their property," Hensley said. "In prior years, the redemption period was two years. This is the first year there is a one-year redemption period."
The property's original owner has the option to pay the collector what was bid plus 10 percent interest. "And then that money goes to the purchaser," Hensley said.
On a property's third offering, the redemption period is only 90 days.
Once a redemption period elapses, "there are certain things you have to do before you get a collector's deed," Hensley said, including conducting a title search on the property and notifying anyone that has any liens or rights to the property by certified mail.
On a "subsequent offering," which is any offering after the third, a collector deed is issued without a redemption period or title search, Hensley said.
Even if the property does eventually end up in the hands of the bidder, Hensley cautioned: "I always tell people that if they come to a tax sale looking for prime properties, I use the old cliche - if it's too good to be true, then it's too good to be true."