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County tax sale successful
courthouse pic new web

The annual Barton County Tax Sale was held on Oct. 11 at the courthouse. Of the 24 parcels on the auction block, 23 sold, County Treasurer Kevin Wondra told the County Commission Monday morning. 

The sale brought in $33,236 plus another $345 in deed filing fees. Of that, about $14,800 went to pay back taxes on the properties.

However, the balance, or over $18,000, is considered an overage, Wondra said. This money will be held and turned over to anyone with interests in the sold parcels, including banks, or turned over the Kansas State Treasurer’s Office as unclaimed property.

All the sales are final once a judge certifies the results on Oct. 31.

“It is never our desire to displace anyone,” Commissioner Jennifer Schartz said, expressing concerns about those who might be living in properties.

However, of the 23 sold parcels, 15 were vacant lots, Wondra said. And, the properties with dwellings were unoccupied, although a some of the owners wanted to keep them but couldn’t afford to.

County Administrator Richard Boeckman said buyers at the sale had to sign an affidavit stating they were not purchasing the properties for those who owed the back taxes. Plus, there are steep penalties if this rule is violated.

“It’s an interesting process,” Wondra said. The effort started in March when the county filed on 104 properties, of which most were taken care of prior to the sale.

Wondra said the remaining parcel, a vacant lot in Claflin, will be held over for next year’s sale if it remains unclaimed.

He also praised the teamwork involved in making the sale possible. It took multiple departments to keep track of the properties, get them posted on the county’s website and try to track down property owners.