County foreclosure tax sale receipts down
The profit Livingston County government made from selling foreclosed property parcels at its annual tax sale on July 26 was less than half the amount secured by the county in 2011, and the lowest total of the last three years.
While the profit represents revenue for the county coffers, a high figure is not particularly welcomed by officials, since high tax sale profit is also an indicator of difficult economic times and of individual property owner heartbreak.
What had been only a modestly increasing figure at $260,000 and $270,000 in 2008 and 2009, took a sudden jump to $498,000 in 2010, then jumped again to a startling $857,000 in 2011. For the July 26, 2012 tax sale, the figure has declined to $418,000. (The ‘profit’ figures are shown as they stand, before the county pays off any required IRS liens.)
Livingston County Treasurer Carolyn Taylor attributed the 2012 decline to several factors, one of which may be an anomaly in 2011, which pushed the figure to such a high level. Taylor noted that a relatively small number of valuable properties happened to have been foreclosed for 2011 and these few contributed to the total profit far out of proportion to their number.
A second factor mentioned by Taylor was higher consciousness of foreclosures on the part of individual town supervisors, many of whom took personal responsibility for alerting and advising property owners who were potential foreclosure candidates in their towns.
(The County News can perhaps take some credit for making the issue prominent, having closely reported and spotlighted the process and its related controversies last year.)
The treasurer’s office also intensified the notification process with additional display advertising published three times in two local pennysavers.
The low profit figure was also apparently a product of the nature of the foreclosed parcels. This year 18 of the listed total of 38 were vacant parcels. In contrast with only nine of the 42 listed in 2011 were vacant.