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Annual tax sale in the works

 The first steps have been taken towards the 2016 Barton County tax sale, County Administrator Richard Boeckman told the county commissioners Monday morning. 

Boeckman said he filed the tax sale petition on March 18. On Monday morning, they filed 250 summonses with the clerk of the District Court Monday morning in an effort to personally serve all those who may be a party to the sale via certified mail.

“That is the first process is the sale, essentially trying to get personal service on everyone who is party to the sale,” Boeckman said. If this certified mailing doesn’t reach everyone, the balance will appear in the Great Bend Tribune.

“By the time we filed, we filed on 104 tracts,” he said. “In the great scheme of things, this is a smaller tax sale.”

It has gotten smaller over the years, he said. “Every year, we’ve  done a tax sale and every year and people know we are going to do a tax sale and that does help to bring the amount of delinquencies down.”

The county will take judgement in August. The sale will then be set for the second Tuesday in October, or Oct. 11.

“These are delinquent taxes being collected,” Boeckman said. “This is something that impacts all municipalities budgets when you have delinquent taxes.”

To avoid having a property sold at auction, owners must pay all taxes from, generally, 2012 forward and a redemption fee of $170, Boeckman said.

“Are there homes on there that families are living in?” Commissioner Jennifer Schartz asked. “It bothers me that we are throwing people out of their homes.”

Sure, there are such properties that start out on the sale, Boeckman said. But, come sale time, there are usually only 10 to 15 tracts on the block and most of those are older houses or vacant lots.

“(County Treasurer Kevin Wondra) and I work very closely with taxpayers,” Boeckman said. “Neither one of us have a goal to get a family out of their house. Our goal is to get delinquent taxes paid.”

Often, these lots go from someone who isn’t paying taxes to someone who uses the property for a business or some other purpose, he said. This is a win-win for everyone.