Delinquent properties to be sold at auction

It's the one other thing, besides death, that you can't get out of, and Moffat County is going to make sure that's the case.

Advertisements of delinquent property and mineral lease taxes were released Thursday, identifying that assets will be auctioned off to the public Nov. 10 if owners don't pay up.

Property taxes are due on 211 properties and 129 mineral leases this year, said Moffat County Treasurer Robert Razzano, but he expects up to half of those taxes to be paid before the auction date.

To retain ownership, owners can pay 2004 taxes up until the morning of the sale. If taxes aren't paid, the highest bidder retains a lien against the property and the owner has three years from the date of the sale to get property back.

Although the auction seems like a good deal to cash in on another's misfortune, it's often not "the get-rich-quick scheme it looks like on TV," Razzano said.

It's rare that a house or commercial property is auctioned off and the owner fails to pay back taxes, he said.

"We very seldom see people get a house for the tax deed," Razzano said.

Rather, bidders take advantage of the auction as an investment. Highest bidders earn 12 percent interest on property or mineral rights until an owner relinquishes it. The county absorbs properties that aren't auctioned off.

High numbers of delinquent property taxes may provide a fiscal snapshot of the time, Razzano said. The county had about one-third more delinquent property tax cases on its hands in the economically strapped mid-1980's.

Also, 2004 had fewer delinquent taxes on mineral rights, which may be indicative of owners' desires to cash in on mineral leasing from a boom of prospective oil and gas companies, he said.

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