Gavel On Sounding Block

Eight Rappahannock County properties previously owned by delinquent taxpayers were sold at a public auction on Friday, Oct. 23, earning the county enough revenue to cover the decades-overdue taxes and the expenses of the auction to boot. 

The $305,000 that the county receives from the auction will also pay back the interest and penalties associated with the delinquent taxes. Some taxpayers whose properties were sold had not paid the county a dime in upwards of two decades.

A judge will have to approve the sale and a hearing is tentatively scheduled for Nov. 9. After the judge’s approval, the funds will be transferred to the county.

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A second round of parcels is slated to be auctioned off in the next few months. Daniel Pond, special counsel to Pond Law Group in Front Royal told this newspaper in September that “the second round potentially will be more interesting tracts,” but did not provide any other information. 

Virginia code states that when taxes on any real estate in a locality are delinquent for more than two years, the parcel in question “may be sold for the purpose of collecting all delinquent taxes on such property.”

“There are a number of properties [in the county] that are over two years delinquent but we are trying to take care of the oldest ones first,” said County Treasurer Debbie Knick.

The auction has boosted the county’s finances, which have maintained surprisingly healthy revenue streams in this pandemic year from both sales tax and meals and lodgings tax. “Our relative cash position compared to last year is up by about $1.4 million, meaning we have more cash on hand earlier than we normally would,” said County Supervisor Keir Whitson.

Keep an eye out in this newspaper for an announcement advertising the second auction of county parcels in the beginning of 2021.