(BEDFORD) - Nearly 300 Lawrence County properties could be sold next month for back taxes their owners have not paid.
In all, $379,800 is owed on the 274 parcels that are on the list.
Auditor Billie Tumey says property owners must be at least three months behind in their taxes before they can be listed in the tax sale.
Tumey says property owners should have received notice by certified mail stating they are behind and the property will be listed in the sale.
But she did say some owners could not be located. People who are on the list should call Tumey's office (275-3111) or the Lawrence County treasurer's office (275-2431).
As provided in Indiana law, the list will be published again in the Times-Mail on Aug. 22nd.
The sale will start at 10 a.m. Sept. 19 in the Lawrence County Courthouse lobby and proceed in auction-like fashion. The amount of property taxes owed will be the starting bid.
Tumey says the winning bidder receives a tax lien, not a deed. The property owner has a year to pay the back taxes, plus costs and interests to the lien holder, in order to get the property back. If the owner does not pay, the lien holder can then get a deed to, and ownership of, the parcel.
"You really don't want it to sell," Tumey said, "because all sorts of fees add up."
To begin with, the county and SRI Inc., the company that runs the sale, charges a fee off the top. That amounts to $95 for each property listed, the auditor said.
"(The sale) doesn't cost the county anything because it is passed on to property owners," Tumey said.
The unpaid tax money is owed not just to the county government, Tumey says, but also to schools, cities, towns, libraries and other entities that receive property tax funds.
The county distributes property tax money twice a year, in June and December. Money raised through the September sale (along with unpaid taxes that are paid) will be distributed in December.
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