Franklin County Government Center Rotunda

86 delinquent tax properties sold for $589,005

Franklin County is reporting record revenue from its annual sale of delinquent properties held Monday.

The county collected a total of $589,005, County Collector Doug Trentmann said. In all, 86 of the 400 delinquent properties were sold.

“We broke every record we could find,” Trentmann said.

Of the money brought in, $124,698 goes to pay back taxes, and $464,306 will stay with the county treasurer’s office for three years.

Trentmann said if no one is able to claim the additional money, such as by proving they should be reimbursed for a property sale, it will be dispersed to local school districts.

The most spent during the tax sale was $103,000 for a ranch house on 4 acres on Maple Hill Lane in Labadie, Trentmann said. Of that, $11,000 will go to back taxes.

“We had a lot more big-money people than normal, people willing to pay out $50,000,” Trentmann said.

That one sale nearly eclipsed the total raised during the 2020 tax sale. According to Missourian archives, $133,154 was raised last year, when 79 of an available 474 properties were sold.

The 79 properties sold in 2020 had been the record, at least for recent years, Trentmann said. This year’s sale also broke the record for money raised, which Trentmann said was set in 2016, though he didn’t have the amount for that year.

Certain properties drew a number of bidders, who then left after that site was bid. Trentmann, who led the auction, said only four bidders remained in the commission meeting room when the sale wrapped up at 2 p.m. after just under four hours.

“We started a little late because we had a lot more bidders than anticipated,” he said.

County Clerk Tim Baker, who kept records during the tax sale, said it was his most exciting sale in the three years he has been involved. Some of the bids got heated, with five or six people bidding.

“From the county’s perspective, it’s always nice to get the property off the rolls,” Baker said.

At least three people “paid forward” to others, Trentmann said. One woman said she was there to pay people’s taxes off and did so for an undisclosed number of people who were delinquent on their property taxes. Another person gave people money to pay their taxes.

One person asked Trentmann if he could waive the sale of their property, which he explained he couldn’t do. Trentmann said another person heard the conversation and paid the person’s tax bill so they could keep their land.

“I’ve never seen that,” Trentmann said.

Of the properties made available Monday, 274 received no bids, Trentmann said. 

The county also is conveying 40 properties. The county makes properties available at the tax sale after three years of delinquent taxes. Then it goes on the conveyed list, where it is owned by the county, after three years at the tax sale.

People will eventually be able to purchase the conveyed properties through the county commission outside the tax sale.

Another seven people whose properties were on the sale list paid their taxes Monday morning, Trentmann said. Another mailed in the required payment, but it didn’t arrive on time.

“I would encourage people not to push it that far,” he said.