The second land sale to recover delinquent property taxes using an online bidding system appears to have been even more successful than the first.

Tax Assessor-Collector Tameri Dunnam said that bidders paid $50,920 more than the tax owed. That’s more than last year’s sale.

The excess will go to the county general fund rather than to the tax office.

Dunnam said 24 bidders competed for 957 parcels of land with unpaid taxes.

Prior to last year, the land sale was done in person in a sort of round robin, which limited opportunities to bid for some.

Then, this past year, the tax office began having GovEase.com handle the sale. Because it is automated, bidders can review property and submit maximum and minimum bids in ahead of time, or during the actual sale. Bidders can also set up incremental automatic bid increased up to their limit.

 “I love than company,” Dunnam said. “They are always taking care of our office and willing to help bidders.”

About the only possible negative is that property owners cannot redeem their delinquent property at the last minute, as they used to do before the in-person auction began. There is a 5 p.m. deadline because it takes some time to transfer data from the tax office to the auction site.

Although profit from the auction above the amount of delinquent taxes goes to the general fund, Dunnam would like to see it put to a specific use.

“I hope they use the excess to help the handicapped and elderly,” she said.

Dunnam explained that although the courthouse is technically handicapped-accessible, she sees many elderly citizens who come to the courthouse but have to park some distance away and still navigate some steps and doors. “You would be surprised at how many we have had to help back to their cars,” she said.

Although they probably could get someone to drive them or even take care of their business for them, they don’t want to give up their independence, she added.

A drive-up window would help other departments as well as hers, she said, but the courthouse design would make one impractical, even if the building were not on the register of historic buildings.

Although anyone who wants to transact business concerning the parcels sold now has to go through the chancery clerk’s office, Dunnam’s work is hardly done.

The 2019 property tax bills will be mailed out Dec. 1.

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