By Nick Worth
Navajo County’s annual back tax land auction went online for the first time this fall, and the results far exceeded those of past, more traditional, auctions.
This year’s online version of the auction featured 138 properties up for sale on the www.PublicSurplus.com website. The auction began online at 9 a.m. on Monday, Oct. 15, and ended on Oct. 30.
As is typical of online auctions, the bidding on the land parcels began at the listed price of the back tax bill and the properties were sold to the highest bidder. No bids were accepted for less than the starting price.
The auction website also accepted payments via credit card for land purchases up to $4,000. Amounts over that limit were to be handled by wire transfer.
In the past, bidders had to appear at the Navajo County Complex to bid on properties and, according to Clerk of the Board of Supervisors Melissa Buckley, the typical showing was usually very small.
“At last year’s auction we had four bidders,” she recalled.
According to Buckley, this year’s auction drew more than 40 bidders from as far away as West Virginia and Alaska.
A total of 68 properties were sold through the auction, bringing the county $38,698.37 in revenues. Buckley noted in an e-mail the sum “will recoup all taxes and interest owed in the amount of $30,623.08 for these 68 parcels. The additional gain of $8,075.29 is the result of reaching a broader audience through the online advertising.
“Historically, the number of parcels sold during the annual live auction was extremely limited due to the rural and remote nature of Navajo County,” said Buckley
In her e-mail statement, Buckley said she was pleased with the results of this year’s auction.
“This innovative process has gained international interest in Navajo County’s sale of back tax properties,” said Buckley. “This department’s strategic plan targeted an increase of 50 percent of sales over previous years, however this new innovative technique has far exceeded our strategic goal for the year.”
A new list of tax delinquent properties is available every year in October and is available through the Navajo County website at www.navajocountyaz.gov, over the counter in the county administration office or in the county contract newspaper, which is currently The Tribune-News.
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By Nick Worth