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County tax sale set for Oct. 11
Officials say there is plenty of time to pay back taxes
county tax sale pic
The Barton County Commission Wednesday hears an update on the county tax sale. - photo by DALE HOGG Great Bend Tribune

Following a two-year break caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Barton County Tax Sale returns this year, the County Commission decided in January. It takes place at 10 a.m. Oct. 11 at the Great Bend Events Center, 3111 10th St.

The commission approved a resolution authorizing the sale, allowing specified tracts to be sold for back taxes. It also authorized  the necessary abstract work be done to prepare for the sale.

As of now, the Treasurer’s Office has 158 tracts that would be for sale, said County Counselor Patrick Hoffman, giving the commission an update Wednesday morning. However, “that number will be reduced dramatically.”

In May, all 158 owners of record were served notice the properties would be up for auction. He anticipates most owners, those who care about keeping their property, will respond and pay what they owe.

But, there are tracts where the owners are not interested or the ownership is in question. These are the ones that will likely wind up on the auction block.

The Treasurer’s Office has payment plans worked out with 80 delinquent property owners, Treasurer Jim Jordan said. Most of them are current.

The money generated by the sale goes first to pay the back taxes. Anything over what is owed to the county goes back to the owner or lien holder, he said.

A property winds up on the sale list if there are three years worth of taxes owed, and the entire amount must be paid for it to be redeemed.

To redeem a property, the owner needs to come to the Treasurer’s Office and pay the taxes plus court costs, abstract fees and publication costs totaling $246. Interest also compounds on the taxes due.

Delinquent taxpayers have until noon on Oct. 7 to pay, Jordan said. He estimates there will be around 50 properties left on the sale.

At the sale, the buyer receives a sheriff’s deed, Hoffman said. There is also a disclaimer that there is a 90-day period in which the original owner can file a court petition to claim the property, although this is rare.

In the long run, Hoffman said the county is fine with not having to sell anything. But, they also want the delinquent properties to be in the hands of those willing to make them productive and contributing to the county’s tax base.

“It is never the county’s goal to sell someone’s home out from under them,” District 5 Commissioner Jennifer Schartz said. “We just want everyone to pay their fair share of the taxes.”