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Mon, May 17

Column | County Corner: Tax deed foreclosures and tax deed sales benefit the county

Thank you to Mohave County Assessor Jeanne Kentch for last month’s article touting the many accomplishments of her office and talented staff since she was elected in 2016.

Before I explain some recent tax-related events, I would like to remind everyone that the second installment of property taxes was due and payable March 1 and taxes are delinquent after May 3. My office is currently open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Fridays. With the continued presence of COVID-19, I’d like to remind my constituents that property taxes may be paid online, by phone by calling Point and Pay at 855-814-6451, by mail, or in-person at the county administration building. Payment drop box locations are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week in Bullhead City (1130 Hancock St.), Kingman (700 W. Beale St.) and Lake Havasu City (2001 College Drive, Suite 93).

For more information regarding property taxes, please visit www.mohavecounty.us.

In my last article I explained the differences between the treasurer’s annual tax lien sale and the board of supervisor’s tax deed sale. The 2021 Tax deed sale commenced March 15 and concluded March 26. Of the 7,534 parcels of property presented for sale, more than 5,000 were purchased during the competitive online bidding process.

A successful tax deed sale represents the culmination of a multi-year effort by several different Mohave County departments.

The board of supervisors initiates the foreclosure process by requesting tax deeds from the treasurer. This request provides my office with the authority to begin foreclosure proceedings.

The treasurer’s office oversees the more than six-month foreclosure process, ensuring strict compliance with statutory requirements from start to finish.

The recorder’s office records the treasurer’s tax deeds issued at the end of the foreclosure process, and records the board of supervisors’ deeds issued at the close of the tax deed sale.

The assessor’s office provides assistance and forensic data, and processes the thousands of deeds created by the treasurer and the clerk of the board.

Procurement/warehouse coordinates the contract with the online auction vendor, and answers procedural questions related to online sales.

The clerk of the board of supervisors administers the tax deed sale, and creates and delivers deeds to the winning bidders.

The unique expertise and assistance provided by each of the departments listed above was vital to the success of this process. Thank you all for your gracious support, and thank you to all county employees who answered phone calls during the tax deed sale!

The tax deed foreclosures and tax deed sales benefit the county and its residents in several different ways.

First, legal notices mailed at the onset of the foreclosure proceedings motivate a percentage of property owners to redeem their property (thereby avoiding foreclosure) by paying all delinquent taxes, interest, penalties and fees. Owner redemption payments have totaled close to $1.5 million in the past three fiscal years.

Second, after delinquent parcels are deeded to the state of Arizona, my office no longer needs to mail annual tax statements and delinquent notices. The resulting administrative savings since 2018 are in excess of $53,000.

Third, the revenue generated by the sale is an immediate cash inflow for the county and the various school, fire and special districts within its boundaries. These revenues provide vital services to the residents of Mohave County. This year’s tax deed sale was a huge success and generated over $3 million!

Lastly, we expect that the winning bidders (new owners) will pay their property taxes as they become due each year. Each parcel sold at the 2021 tax deed sale represented a minimum of seven years delinquent taxes, and some had delinquencies dating back more than 30 years! Going forward, these 5,000-plus properties will generate annual property tax revenues of approximately $200,000.

In total, the combined revenue and savings generated by these processes over the past three years exceeds $4,750,000, and that number will continue to grow with each passing year.

Thanks again to all who played a part in this endeavor, especially the clerk of the board who facilitated the tremendously successful 2021 tax deed sale!

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