County tax-lein sale busts
November 15, 2009
Grand County has come up short on its tax-lien sale, leaving $300,000 in outstanding unpaid taxes, the greatest amount known in county history.
As many as 395 properties were not tax-redeemed by investors during the month long online sale, Treasurer Christina Whitmer said during her report to commissioners last Tuesday.
When the sale closed, the treasurer notified investors of certificates for tax liens remaining, which resulted in 30 more sales, she said.
“The taxing entities of Grand County are coming up about $300,000 short this year,” she told commissioners.
The treasurer’s office is in the process of calculating the potential impact to local taxing districts.
East Grand School District administrators estimate the shortage could mean about $100,000 less to its 2010-2011 budget.
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Whitmer said some of the property-tax certificates were not sold due to odd legal descriptions of properties.
One investor, she said, looked at bidding on some properties in Grand Elk, but found that some were “raw ground,” sized about “200 square-feet” with taxes hovering around “$1,000” a parcel. One example was a “plot in front of a building supposed to go up,” Whitmer said. “That’s why they weren’t picked up,” she said.
The treasurer wondered if the parcels are actually “open space chunks” within the development.
County Assessor Tom Weydert confirmed on Thursday that at least one property he looked up from the list was 827 square-feet and was indeed open space, but since it was still in the possession of the landowner, was taxable property.
Grand Elk General Manager Steve Bromberg, reached on Thursday, said if those properties are open-space parcels, they should have been deeded to the homeowners association. Bromberg said he planned to look into it.
A public trustee sale affecting about half of the Grand Elk development is scheduled for Nov. 20. Bank Midwest is foreclosing on a defaulted loan in the amount of $12.1 million, according to county records.
Meanwhile, anyone can still purchase the county-held tax liens that weren’t sold at the sale, Whitmer said.
– Tonya Bina can be reached at 970-887-3334 ext. 19603 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.