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Tax sales put $130,000 dent into delinquencies

Photo by Carly Farrell

Photo by Carly Farrell

ALBANY, Ga. -- When the gavel fell on the final parcel at Tuesday's delinquent tax sale, county officials were able to put a dent into their tax lien list, but fell far short of balancing their books.

Dougherty Tax Director Denver Hooten said that city, county and school system will reclaim more than $130,000 in delinquent property taxes and penalties after 53 tax liens were sold at public auction on the courthouse steps.

That figure is about 22.2 percent of the outstanding taxes owed on properties that were up for auction Tuesday.

Between real estate and other taxable property, local governments are still out more than $455,000 in delinquent taxes on properties that were on Tuesday's auction block.

Hooten attributes the drop in tax sales to the economy and to a geographic area where investors have plenty of property they can't flip.

"The economy's been tough on everyone, even those who would ordinarily be the ones to bid on these properties," Hooten said. "I know we only had one of what I'll call our power investors come out because, frankly, the area is saturated with property they can't sell."

Hooten said that the properties that didn't sell will go back onto the delinquent taxes list and will continue to earn a 1 percent penalty fee each month the taxes remain unpaid. There were 884 parcels of land throughout Albany and Dougherty County that were delinquent on taxes.