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City auctions off 160 tax sale certificates

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The city comptroller’s office auctioned off 160 tax sale certificates Tuesday.

The property owners were not current on their city, school and/or Jefferson County taxes for the city’s current fiscal year of 2012-13.

The auction brought in $296,121.71, but the city became the default bidder on 58 certificates with $87,623.85 in back taxes. Outside bidders ended up with 102 certificates for which they paid a total of $208,497.86.

The Marietta investment firm of ICA Renovations LLC was the biggest bidder, with 74 certificates on successful bids of $175,801.36.

“It was very similar to other years,” Comptroller James E. Mills said.

Last year, the auction yielded 156 certificates on about $315,000 in bids.

Some of the more notable certificates include:

n Northland Plaza, 144 Eastern Blvd., with ICA Renovations submitting a $49,808.34 bid. Last week, owner Randolph B. Soggs, Watertown Center Development Corp., said he will pay the outstanding taxes within the next 12 months.

n Denny’s Restaurant, 1142 Arsenal St., had a $13,366.78 bid from ICA Renovations. It is owned by CNL Net Lease Funding 2003 LLC, Fort Worth, Texas.

n The North Side Improvement League, 633 Mill St., and an adjacent vacant lot were picked up by ICA Renovations, with respective bids of $3,139.78 and $91.95. The fraternal organization once played a prominent role in local politics.

n The old state Department of Transportation barn site, 424 VanDuzee St., had no bids, so the city got it for $44,365.93. Its owner is listed as North Country Development of Jefferson County Inc., whose sole shareholder is Anthony Susi of Massachusetts.

n Sanquist Properties, 505 Washington St., has already gone through the process, but ICA Renovations failed to pay on the city taxes. So bidder Aaron Netto had a $9,146.74 bid for a second certificate on the apartment building, owned by Sanquist P1 LP, operators of Fort Drum Vehicle Storage.

The auction began the two-year tax sale certificate process.

The city annually holds tax sales for properties that have gone one year in arrears with city, county or city school district property taxes. The city is made whole when bidders, usually investment firms, pay those delinquent taxes following tax sale auctions.

Delinquent owners have two years after a tax sale to redeem their properties before the owners of the tax sale certificates can request to take ownership of the properties. To do so, they must pay all outstanding taxes and any interest and penalties. The city imposes a 1-percent-per-month interest charge on properties, which then is given to the tax sale certificate holder, along with the money paid for the certificate, if the property owner pays in full.

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