Grand County delinquent property tax sale approaches $2 million
October 21, 2009
With $1.9 million in delinquent property taxes on the books, Grand County Treasurer Christina Whitmer said this year’s public tax sale is larger than the sale that took place in the last major recession in the early 1980s.
Whitmer guessed the county had about 1,100 properties in its tax sale then; this year’s sale has 1,529 properties.
As many as 134 property owners have paid delinquent taxes since the start of this year’s sale on Oct. 1.
Volume of unpaid property taxes has grown exponentially in the past three years, according to county records. In 2007, there were 300 properties with outstanding taxes in the sale, and last year there were 800.
“We’re worried about (not) selling everything,” Whitmer said. In the last seven to 10 years, the treasurer’s sale has always sold out, she said.
Bidders put a deposit of 10 percent of what they intend to spend at the sale.
By Tuesday, the treasurer’s office had an encouraging $75,000 deposit from one bidder, increasing the amount held in bidder deposits to $216,768.
“It doesn’t necessarily mean it will cover the tax sale, because they could all be bidding on the same properties,” Whitmer said.
The office put the public tax sale online for the second consecutive year to reach a national market.
Neighboring mountain counties are up in their delinquent-tax numbers too, “but are nowhere near as much as we are,” Whitmer said. “I’m not sure why.”
County Manager Lurline Underbrink Curran guessed that because Grand County experienced the property market bubble later than other counties, it likewise was “behind going down” in foreclosures and unpaid taxes.
Buyers of tax lien certificates earn 10 percent interest.