Registration for tax lien auction opens

The County Treasurer's Office opened registration for the annual county tax lien sale on Saturday - which means property owners might want to make sure they've paid their taxes for 2007.

Bidding in the auction will run Feb. 15-22. A property owner with a tax lien against his or her property has until 5 p.m. on Feb. 21 to pay off the lien.

The auction will be held online, although this year the county will be using a different auction site, Real Auction.

The new company is much more user-friendly than the previous company, Chief Deputy Treasurer Janet Barker said.

On Feb. 22 the office's computers start to calculate the winning bids and it's too late to pay, Barker said.

Treasurer Lee Fabrizio, explaining how the auction works, said the county puts a lien against a property for taxes not paid in the last year. If the owner does not pay the taxes before Feb. 15, then the tax lien - not the property - is put up for auction on the county's Web site.

A property owner then has until the last day of the auction, Feb. 22, to pay off the remaining taxes. If the property owner doesn't pay off the taxes, then the lien is sold to the highest bidder.

The person who wins the bid pays the county and now holds the lien against the property.

The county gets the money for the back taxes and the lien holder gets an investment.