Sullivan County Courthouse

BLOUNTVILLE — If you’re interested in buying land at what might seem like a good price, Sullivan County has more than 100 parcels up for bid. The parcels have all landed on the list after failing to attract a minimum bid during one or more public auctions.

They are often very small, irregularly shaped, sometimes landlocked, and buyers might still have to pay past-due city tax bills. In some cases, it’s a challenge to get a clear deed, which in turn can severely limit use of the property.

Earlier this week, the Sullivan County Delinquent Tax Committee accepted bids on two such pieces of property. Potential action on the parcels was advertised in the Times News, as required by law.

The committee voted to accept the following:

• $50 from Mary Tilly, 825 Williams St. Extension, Bristol, for a landlocked lot described as “North of Williams Street Extension,” that adjoins Tilly’s address. The property assessor’s market value on the lot: $5,300. The county has owned the property since March 2003, when no one bid the amount owed in delinquent taxes: $785.82.

• $400 from Nodaway River Land and Cattle, of Marianna, Florida, for a parcel on Canton Road with the owner listed as “unknown,” and a delinquent tax bill of $5,538 (no taxes paid since 2001). The property assessor’s market value on the vacant lot: $10,400.

In the past, Sullivan County usually held a yearly delinquent tax sale for the properties with past due taxes. This year there will be two. The next one is scheduled for September.

By law, a complete list of those properties will be advertised in the newspaper in advance.

The auctions are attempts to clear the county’s delinquent tax roll. When those auctions take place, the minimum bid is equal to the amount of past due taxes. If no one bids the minimum, the county bids that amount.

Owners of properties sold for back taxes have up to one year after the parcel is auctioned to “redeem” their ownership by paying the past- due tax bill and fees. The purchaser in those cases gets a refund.

But parcels with no buyers and no owner coming forward eventually end up on the “available for bid list,” and when they are sold there is no redemption period.

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