County gets back delinquent taxes from auction

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, September 2, 2009

NATCHEZ — Adams County now has much of the $1.43 million it was owed in delinquent property taxes, but the largest sum of the money isn’t coming from the property owners.

The tax collector’s office oversaw an auction that ended Tuesday in which most of the 1,400 parcels of land up for auction were sold to investors and various companies that specialize in such buys.

The buyers will pay the owed taxes to the county and the money will be distributed to the city, county and school district. The property owners do not lose their property immediately, but now owe the full taxes plus interest.

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The companies that purchased the taxes at auction will earn 1 percent interest per month up to 11 percent a year on each parcel, local attorney Kent Hudson said.

Taxes were due in February, but money on more than 1,824 parcels of land still hadn’t been paid two weeks ago when a full list of those delinquent was published in the newspaper.

From the time the list was published to Tuesday’s auction, owners paid taxes on approximately 420 parcels, Tax Collector Peter Burns said.

Adams County Supervisor S.E. “Spanky” Felter and his brother paid approximately $3,600 they owed prior to the auction.

Those who did not pay their taxes have up to three years from the sale date to pay all the money owed at the chancery clerk’s office in order to redeem their property. They still owe the interest accrued to that point.

Taxes owed by Emerald Star Casino, which owns the Grand Soleil Casino-Hotel development and owes more than $103,000 on three parcels of land, were sold in the auction.

Hudson, attorney for the casino group, said Grand Soleil plans to redeem the property once financing is lined up. He said such a tax sale is not unusual or worrisome for the group.

Taxes on property owned by Alderman James “Ricky” Gray and his wife as well as several parcels owned by City Attorney Everett Sanders and his wife Judge Lillie Blackmon-Sanders were also sold.

Gray has said the property listed as delinquent is now owned solely by his ex-wife. Gray’s name is still listed on the deed.