Walker targets 100 properties for overdue taxes

WALKER – Approximately 100 properties in the city have owed taxes for so long that they could face sale at auction. Mayor Jimmy Watson said CivicSource, a firm the city hired, is working with Walker to get the taxes owed.

CivicSource, of New Orleans, is an auctioneer of tax-distressed real estate. It digitizes due process compliance to ensure valid sales.

“We’re sending out tax notices,” Watson said, “Currently about 100 properties are scheduled for tax sales.”

The properties will go for auction if the taxes are not paid by June, he said. City Clerk Myra Streeter said some of the taxes owed go back 10 years.

The city does not take action until the taxes owed reach $50, she said, and it takes several years with the penalty to build up to $50.

Taxes unpaid after Dec. 31, 2017, add a 1 percent per month penalty until it is paid, according to a city notice.

Taxes that remained unpaid after Jan. 31, accrue collection costs on the first of each month until the online tax sale on June 6, the notice said.

If a property is sold at a tax sale, the owner is subject to losing the homestead exemption. Property sold at tax sale may be redeemed up to three years from the date of the sale, the notice said.

To find if a current tax bill is unpaid, contact city receptionist Mary Poe at (225) 665-4356 at City Hall.

Original article found here: https://www.livingstonparishnews.com/news/walker-targets-properties-for-overdue-taxes/article_90bf88f2-32ae-11e8-80a5-e344046a8eb8.html

Property purchases win-win for city: Online program puts buyers in touch with tax-delinquent real estate

A recent effort to tackle neighborhood blight in north Lake Charles has seen real returns over the past year, officials said Thursday, giving hope to longtime residents who want to see their area improve.

About 34 tax-delinquent properties in north Lake Charles have been auctioned off online since the launch of a pilot program in late 2016.

The Lake Charles North Redevelopment Authority spearheaded the program through a partnership with New Orleans-based CivicSource.com, which brings adjudicated properties to market through its online platform.

About 94 properties are on the website, and more should go up later this year, said authority President Kathleen Dorsey Bellow.

Bellow said she was pleased to see nearly three dozen properties find new owners through the process, especially since most buyers are local — about 90 percent of people who buy properties through CivicSource statewide are residents of that area, according to company officials.

“I am encouraged because people who either grew up in the neighborhood or go to church here are buying properties, so it’s people affiliated with the neighborhood,” said Bellow.

Representatives of CivicSource hosted two outreach meetings on Thursday for people interested in learning more about the program. They took residents through the process of ownership, from putting down the $850 deposit to bidding on auction day.

About 20 residents attended the morning session, asking questions about the overall cost and how to navigate the website.

Resident Jerry Adams, who attended the morning session, said he was surprised to learn that properties often go for as little as $5,000-$10,000 — a nominal charge compared with the high cost of real estate on the private market. He said new construction could only be a good thing for the area.

“Anytime the public is offered to buy property in their own neighborhood and community it’s a good thing,” said Darol King, who also attended the meeting.

King, owner of Mariah’s Christian Preschool, said he plans to buy two properties within the year for either a business or housing development. He may consider expanding the preschool if he finds the right property.

“We have to turn so many people away because it’s a needed service,” King said. “If we can find a building I can renovate, boy that would be really nice.”

Beau Buyers, a title agent for CivicSource, said the company usually collects $5,100 of the sale price to cover the cost of legal work, with the remainder going to the city. So far, property sales through CivicSource have brought the city $43,000.

Buyers said this money helps alleviate the financial burden Lake Charles has experienced from years of taking care of tax-delinquent properties — mowing lawns and making sure they were in compliance.

He said on average the properties CivicSource sells have been tax delinquent for over 20 years.


Original article published here: http://www.americanpress.com/news/local/online-program-puts-buyers-in-touch-with-tax-delinquent-real/article_d74ee1e4-23c9-11e8-a0b1-4b53eabc686e.html

New property project in Bossier City designed to boost economy

(BOSSIER CITY, LA) – The City of Bossier has launched a new project in an effort to sell adjudicated property online.

After five years of no payment of property taxes to a city or parish, a property becomes adjudicated. The city or parish then becomes responsible for the upkeep and security of the property.

“Primarily most of our adjudicated property falling in the five or more a year category are vacant lots. And we spent probably $335,000-$340,000 a year and just maintaining those properties,” said Pam Glorioso, Chief Administration Officer in Bossier City.

With the sale of the properties, the city will not have the expense of maintaining the mostly vacant lots. It will ultimately put them back into commerce. Tax dollars will flow back into the city, because someone would then own that property. The new owner would maintain it as a private property and pay property taxes.

The city has contracted a company called Civic Source to sell the real estate online. The city is now preparing to launch that service which is set to roll out this Fall in about 6 to 8 months.

The company’s primary objective is to look at the title of the property then see if it’s a marketable property. At that point the lot can be put up for sale. This company can also write title insurance to the new purchaser to ensure they do have a good title.

Bossier Parish Police Jury also uses Civic Source and they have been successful in using it to sell properties for the parish.


Original article published here: https://www.ktbs.com/news/local/new-property-project-in-bossier-city-designed-to-boost-economy/article_cf219176-2395-11e8-b12a-8fe5e8b84ead.html