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Brown County Holds First Tax Sale in Eight Years

About 215-parcels heading for the auction block after years of property tax woes.

Brown County Indiana

Photo: Elizabeth Nicodemus (Flickr)

Hundreds of Brown County properties are slated for the auction block.

Brown County tax officials have spent the last few years struggling to send out tax bills…  In all that time, the county has been unable to hold a tax sale.  In an unusual move, the owners of nearly 12-hundred parcels of property were informed that their properties were heading to the auction block.

The auction was supposed to start at 10-o’clock.  Nearly an hour later… bidders were still waiting in line to register, filling out paperwork and… scouring sales sheets looking for a deal.  The crowd ranged from professional realtors to individual families trying to recover bits and pieces of ancestral property.

Over the last few years, Brown County has been playing a game of catch-up with its outstanding taxes… advising property owners to make payments in lieu of their absent bills.  But for many of those who chose to wait, time has run out.

“It’s unfortunate the way it is, the economy hit’s everybody one way or another.”

That was Brown County resident Douglas Roberts.  He didn’t come to the auction to buy anything… curiosity brought him here.

For others, like Hill’s-O-Brown Realtor Phil Shively… competition is tough..

“I know that a lot of them have done their homework and researched the properties they were bidding on,” said Shivley.

This is not entirely the end of the road for property owners.  They have one year to redeem the property before it transfers ownership… Brown County Treasurer Joe Wray spent most of the day downstairs in his office… taking calls and answering questions.  He says while options still exist for those affected by the auctions… time is now of the essence.

“So it’s not be a state secret, but I can’t make someone come and be on that program,” said Wray.

For some today is business, others an opportunity, and still others just one more roadblock.

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