Franklin County Commission

The Franklin County Commission recently sold a parcel of property appraised at more than $20,000 for $1.

It actually saved the county money to dispose of the property because taxpayers will not have to foot the bill of tearing down a dilapidated house at the site, Presiding County Commissioner John Griesheimer said

One of the conditions to selling the 0.12 acre for $1 was that the new owner, Christopher N. Boone, pay to raze the building, county officials say.

The property is in Whispering Valley, which is a development south of New Haven. Griesheimer said Boone wanted the property so he could fish within the lakeside development.

The appraised value of the property was $21,320 last year, County Collector of Revenue Linda Emmons said. Of that, $13,970 was for the house and $7,350 for the land, she said.

Could Not Sell

The county attempted to sell the property through a public tax sale process three times, but no one bid on the parcel. Since no one bid, the county was stuck with the 0.12 acre and the dilapidated structure on it.

The prior owner, Terrance D. Mitchell, failed to pay property taxes between 2002 and 2006, according to the county commission order approving the land deal.

Emmons said the county tried to sell the property for $2,053 at the last tax sale. That would have covered the cost of the outstanding taxes, interest and tax sale fees, Emmons said.

She said she wishes the county could have at least collected the unpaid taxes, but she said selling the property for $1 and having the house torn down at the owner’s expense is appropriate.

“In this case, I think it was OK to do what we did,” Emmons said.

The county had no need for the property and felt it would be better to sell it for $1 and get the land back on the tax rolls, officials say.

First District County Commissioner Tim Brinker said he initially discussed the land deal with Boone at a Franklin County Municipal League gathering in New Haven. Boone is one of the owners of Cochran Engineering of Union.

In Excess of $10,000 to Raze

It has been estimated that it would cost more than $10,000 just to demolish the building, Griesheimer said.

“We just weren’t able to put the money into the budget to do that,” Griesheimer said.

The county will pay the approximately $500 in closing costs on the property, Griesheimer said, adding that he thinks the property will be closed on this month.

“This is a win-win for Franklin County and the taxpayers big time,” he said.

Brinker said the land deal was not looked at lightly, noting that the county collector’s office tried to sell the property publicly and no bids were received.

“Nobody wanted it,” Brinker said. “So we had to figure out a way to get rid of it and make it a producing property once again for the county and our citizenry.”

Brinker also thanked Boone for taking over the property, saying, “It’s a good gesture on his part as purchaser of this property.”