Tax Sale Draws Large Crowd, Interest

Lauderdale County's Monday tax sale might have been one for the record books. Tax collector Stanley Shannon said, in his last 14 years in office, this is the largest amount of property that he has witnessed being up for sale because of unpaid taxes.

'"They usually go up a small amount sometimes, but this is the largest they've ever gone up in one year," said Shannon.

From last year to this year, Shannon says the amount of property where taxes have not been paid has gone up 17%.

"Last year, we had 3,045. So, whether that is a sign of the economy or what it is, but we have 17% more people today that have not paid their taxes than had paid them at this time last year," said Shannon.

When it comes to overall tax rates, officials say Lauderdale County does not nearly have the highest rates in the state.

"We're 56 out of the counties when you look at county-wide taxes. That's pretty much in the middle of the pack," said county administrator Mike Sumrall.

With the current state of the economy thought to be a major factor in the increase in unpaid property taxes, there are some who are now being able to benefit.

"We needed a parking lot and we bought the property behind the church," said Pastor Jerry Boler, who bought property Monday.

"We couldn't even find the people that owned the property," said his wife, Camilla Boler. "We've tried and tried but never could get anybody to tell us who it was who owned it."

As for the more than 3,600 pieces of property that are being sold to the highest bidder, county officials say the original owners have two years to pay the unpaid taxes, accumulated interest and other accumulated fees to retrieve the property.

With so many pieces of property up for sale, county officials say the tax sale will likely last throughout this week.


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