Sixty properties are listed for sale, though Tax Commissioner Steven Kendrick said his phones were ringing Monday with owners trying to settle their debts.
“These are properties that owe taxes from 2011 and back,” Kendrick said. “In most cases, these are multiple years.”
Unlike previous sales, bidding will start at only the amount of taxes owed, plus interest and penalties, he said.
Additional costs often associated with abandoned properties, such as demolition and cleanup, will not be part of the starting bid, Kendrick said.
Any higher bids paid for a property will go toward those costs, he said.
“We were having too many no-bid properties,” Kendrick said of the lower starting bids. “We need to make that piece of property appealing to get it productive.”
The 60 properties are what remains from a batch of 300 targeted earlier this year by the tax office for chronic nonpayment, but there are more city properties on which taxes are owed.
“We can only sell so many at a time, logistically speaking,” Kendrick said. “Those who owe the most probably are pursued first.”
Properties on the list show past-due amounts from $604 owed in 2011 on a Brookshire Road home to $6,014 owed on a Marion Homes vacant lot owned by Ernest King Jr., who died in 2000.
Property taxes haven’t been paid on the lot since at least 2004, according to tax records.
Byron Barnard, who has a lot on the list, said the sale represents a failed effort to work with city officials on redeveloping a blighted area.
Barnard said he obtained the tract with existing tax liens and hoped to put two low-income rental units on it, but when city officials levied a $5,000 charge for demolition against him, he gave up. Barnard hasn’t paid the tax bill since 2005.
“If someone buys it tomorrow, more power to them,” he said.