History Made As Tax Auction Comes And Goes With No Sales

Potter County Today

History was made on Monday when the  Potter County Tax Claim Bureau (TCB) held its 2010 “continuance sale” without a single property being sold. The brief auction was part of a complex state-mandated process to collect all overdue municipal, school district and county taxes from 2008 or earlier, or sell the delinquents’ properties to the highest bidders.

“This is really a tribute to the hard work of Tax Claim Bureau employees Deanna Johnston and Linda Gambino,” said TCB Director Todd Brown after he packed away the gavel for another year, having not struck down a single property. “Deanna and Linda worked very hard to contact those people who were in jeopardy of losing their property and avoid the outcome that nobody wants — the sale of their real estate because they’ve had trouble paying their taxes.”

From legally mandated posting to door-knocking and phone calls, the TCB staff whittled the list of properties being put up for bid to just seven — and there were no buyers for any of them at either the Sept. 13 Upset Sale of this week’s Continuance Sale. Potential bidders were forewarned that the county does not guarantee clear title — mortgages, liens and other encumbrances may apply. Brown said that was the primary reason no bidders stepped forward to buy the properties. In 2009, the TCB began allowing those who owed back taxes to make monthly payments. Many have taken advantage of that option,  but if they miss a monthly payment the property goes back on the list for sale.

Next phase of the state-mandated effort to collect the back taxes and get the properties back on the tax rolls is a Judicial Sale which is conducted through the Potter County Court of Common Pleas, with details to be announced. In that procedure, the county sets a minimum bid, while all mortgages, liens and encumbrances are wiped clean. Owners of the properties who still owe their school district, municipal and/or county taxes from 2008 or earlier and can prevent a judicial sale by making payment. Shown here from left are Todd Brown, Deanna Johnston and Linda Gambino during the Upset Sale at the Gunzburger Building. More information is available by calling the Tax Claim Bureau at 274-0488.

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