‘We hope to hold an auction in late December or in January’
The legal warning was issued in September by the Rappahannock County government: “Notice of Intent to Sell Real Property for Delinquent Real Estate Taxes.” That day of reckoning has arrived.
“We hope to hold an auction in late December or in January,” says Rappahannock County Treasurer Debra Knick, with the county’s aim to hold “two auctions per year.”
The first batch of parcels to be sold at public auction, in proceedings commenced in the Circuit Court of Rappahannock County, surround grossly delinquent taxpayers who had until Oct. 20, 2018 to cough up what at a previous count amounted to $1.2 million-plus in uncollected taxes going back two decades.
J. Daniel Pond III, special counsel with the Pond Law Group in Front Royal, is overseeing collection of these most severe cases of overdue taxes, and short of that he will also handle the upcoming sale of properties in default.
Some of the property deeds “go back to the 1800s,” Knick says.
Owners declared in default may redeem their properties at any time before the date of the judicial sale by paying all accumulated taxes, penalties, attorney fees, interest, etc.
“Partial prepayment,” the county advises, “shall not be sufficient to redeem the property.”
The Treasurer said sufficient notice will be provided to both the delinquent property owners and Rappahannock residents as to when the first auction will take place, including through legal notice, advertisements, the county website, even physical signs placed alongside properties to be auctioned.
“We want to let as many people know as possible,” she says.
Knick says a positive result of the county identifying severely delinquent taxpayers by name, published two months ago in the Rappahannock News, is it “spurred” some of the lesser delinquent taxpayers to catch up on outstanding levies owed to the county.
A reminder, meanwhile, that 2018 taxes are due Dec. 5, and Knick encourages residents not to wait until the last minute, particularly given the unpredictable weather of late. When taxes are delinquent mandatory penalties are levied.
She says most residents wait until the final two weeks before the due date to pay their taxes.
Knick says approximately 30 percent of the county’s total 2018 tax bill has been paid, a collection rate 3 to 4 percent above last year’s pace.
This year’s tax bills reflect an increase in the tax rate: one cent for fire and rescue on real estate and two cents for the actual tax levy, for an overall three cents tax increase totaling seventy-three cents per one-hundred dollars of assessed value.
There was no change in the 2018 personal property tax from last year.