Twenty-three tax-delinquent properties sold for a total of $67,025 at an auction this week on the courthouse steps in LaFayette, Ga.
"Most of them went for pretty near the taxes that were owed on it. We didn't have anybody go crazy," Tax Commissioner Carolyn Walker said.
The Walker County Tax Commissioner's Office auctioned off the parcels, the owners of which were at least two years behind on property tax payments, on Tuesday. Most of the parcels were empty lots, Walker said. Some properties had fire-damaged homes.
"Most of it's just lots and burned-outs," Walker said.
Twenty-seven bidders braved the cold and participated in the auction, which lasted about 90 minutes.
"I'm not disappointed. We had a good crowd," Walker said.
"Not every piece of property sold," she added, explaining that two dozen parcels weren't bid upon.
County tax specialist Kathy Biddle said that tax-delinquent property owners have a year to reclaim properties they lost at auction by paying what the bidder paid, plus 20 percent. Winning bidders aren't supposed to go onto properties they've won at auction for that one-year period, Biddle said.
Initially, Walker County had identified 180 tax-delinquent properties for auction, but that number dwindled to fewer than 50 on auction day after most of the property owners paid their back taxes.
Tim Omarzu covers education for the Times Free Press. Omarzu is a longtime journalist who has worked as a reporter and editor at daily and weekly newspapers in Michigan, Nevada and California.