County doubles sale of property

February 16, 2019

Allen County had much better luck disposing of properties left over from delinquent tax sales last year, the county commissioners were told Friday.

John Caywood, manager of the Allen County Community Development Corp. and head of the county’s building department, said 271 properties were sold in 2018 : more than double the 129 sold the previous year.

Caywood told commissioners that the better number was the result of a better economy and “some very deliberate marketing to get these properties back on the tax rolls.”

Caywood said the Allen County Community Development Corp. is responsible for disposing of both properties with abandoned structures, where owners owe back taxes, and vacant land when buildings are condemned and torn down.

“We have been pretty successful at selling vacant lots,” he said.

According to Caywood, the county department has done target marketing to neighbors, Spanish-speaking residents and immigrants from the former Burma, now Myanmar.

People are buying them not only to build or to expand homes but also as play space for children or for garden plots, he said.

Some also are sold to nonprofits for redevelopment into homes, he added.

But Caywood said the trend may not last.

“In 2019, we expect to sell less because of the good economy,′ he said.

The inventory of unsold properties has decreased, and fewer people are losing homes because of inability to pay taxes, Caywood added. 

Commissioner Nelson Peters asked whether the department could quantify the amount of taxes from resold properties, and Caywood said he possibly could generate a report.

“Seeing such a reduction in stock is truly remarkable,” Commissioner Therese Brown said.