Statewide online bidding for tax forfeited land

LAUDERDALE COUNTY, Miss. (WTOK) - Mississippi Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann says the state is using online auctions to generate more money for local governments.

An initiative to get the "best bang for your buck" is the goal of putting tax sales online and it will help make Mississippi more beautiful. As part of the effort, state officials are seeking a little of your time and money to boost tax rolls.

"There are approximately 672 properties as we understand it from the Secretary of State's office," says Lauderdale County Tax Assessor James Rainey. He's talking about the number of tax forfeited pieces of property that are owned by the state within Lauderdale County that are currently up for grabs. This is as part of a statewide auction on the Secretary of State's website.

"If you're living on a space, and you know that there's a house down here that's blighted, that you think has been abandoned for three or four years, go on my website," says Mississippi Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann. "Take a look at it; make me an offer. I'm in the selling mode. I'll probably take it."

There is a way that locals can research this type property that's available in Lauderdale County without ever going to the site. This can be done by accessing the county tax assessor's website.

"Once on the website you go to Lauderdale County GIS Mapping, and ultimately you can see exactly what we have on the ground," says Whitney Hodges, who is the Chief Deputy for the Lauderdale County Tax Assessor's office.

According to Secretary of State Hosemann's office, Lauderdale County could stand to receive almost $4 million dollars if all pieces of tax forfeited land within it were purchased and placed back on the tax rolls.

"The state doesn't get any money," says Hosemann. "Every dollar goes back to pay city and county taxes. Once those are paid off then whatever is left over goes to the state, but most of the time it just pays delinquent taxes or some of them."

"That's the reason that these sells are important. It puts them back on the tax rolls," says Rainey. "This generates money for the county."

Statewide there are about 13,000 parcels of tax forfeited land that are available. All on-line bids must be more than $50. To place a bid log on to sos.ms.gov.