County of Wetaskiwin council approved the auction of certain parcels of private land to recover unpaid taxes owed to the municipality. Councilors discussed the time at their Apr. 17 regular council meeting.
Director of Assessment Rene Boutin presented councilors with an agenda memo titled, “reserve bids for public auction parcels.”
Boutin stated in his memo, “Section 418 of the Municipal Government Act states, ‘Council must offer for sale at a public auction any parcel of land shown on its tax arrears list if the tax arrears are not paid.
“In accordance with Section 419 of the MGA, Council must set reserve bids and conditions of sale for each parcel of land to be offered for sale at the public auction. The reserve bid has to be as close as reasonable possible to the market value of parcel, and Council also has to set any conditions that apply to the sale.
“The Assessment Services Department has reviewed value estimates for the subject lots and these should be considered for establishing reserve bid value in conjunction with the May 9th, 2018 Public Auction.”
Typically, once a property is sold for tax arrears, a municipality may take the arrears amount out of the sale price, and the rest of the money goes to the former property owner.
Boutin said that he expected most of the parcels to come off the list before May 9, as taxes in arrears would probably be paid. “There’s not a lot of money owing on some of them,” said Boutin.
However, Boutin stated at least two of them will go to auction. He stated one of the properties has taxes in arrears of about $73,000.
He requested councilors approve the list, including information for a public advertisement.
County CAO Rod Hawken noted all of the property owners have until one minute before the sale to clear up the arrears and have the property in question removed from the auction.
Councilors approved the staff recommendations.