A county property tax sale Thursday collected $1,002,577 in delinquent taxes and penalties, Vigo County Auditor Tim Seprodi said.

The county holds a one-day “A sale” annually in October. A certificate sale is done in the spring. Unlike Thursday’s sale, the certificate sale lasts more than 10 days and includes online bidders.

Properties whose owners have delinquent taxes in three consecutive taxing periods are placed into the sale, Seprodi said.

The county had 1,002 properties with $3.322 million in delinquent taxes and penalties due. “We had 155 properties that were sold. That is pretty low, and we had a low turnout at the sale this year,” Seprodi said. “We usually sell about 25 to 30 percent of the properties. This time we sold about 15 percent. Also, we only had 34 bidders when we usually have 50 or more.”

The highest property, a home on Oregon Church Road, sold for $213,000. The minimum bid, which is the amount owned in taxes and penalties, was $7,300. The second highest property sold for $90,000 for a home on Harlan Drive, which had a minimum bid of $2,300, Seprodi said. Another home sold for $57,000, with a minimum bid of $6,058.

Property owners have 12 months to pay back taxes, plus a 10-percent penalty as well as other fees to redeem their sold properties, the auditor said. The buyer of a sold property receives a 10-percent interest payment based on the minimum bid and is reimbursed the sale price by the county, Seprodi said.

Seprodi said the sale is a method to attempt to return property to the county’s tax roll. Seprodi said officials with SRI Inc., which managed the tax sale, said such property tax sales are down statewide. “I would imagine it is tied to the economy,” the auditor said.

Vigo County annually collects 93 to 97 percent of all property taxes owed before a tax sale is conducted, Seprodi said. The county paid $15,805 to SRI to conduct the sale.

 Howard Greninger can be reached at 812-231-4204 or howard.greninger@tribstar.com.

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