PI County still has lots that remain unsold

ROGERS CITY – Presque Isle County once again has numerous unsold, tax-foreclosed lots after offering them at a tax foreclosure auction, according to Treasurer Bridget LaLonde.

Of the 110 properties offered for sale, most of which were vacant land, a dozen sold for a rough total of $2,850, LaLonde said. They were all offered for a minimum bid of $100 at an auction held Monday at the Cheboygan County Building. The majority were in Presque Isle Township, and LaLonde plans to meet with Presque Isle Harbor Association, where many of the unsold lots are.

“I’m going to meet with them some time in October, and give them an update as to where we stand,” she said. “We’ll maybe do some brainstorming on what options we can consider at this point.”

Auction money will cover Presque Isle County’s foreclosure-related costs, including lot maintenance and paperwork, as well as pay auctioneer Title-Check, LLC, LaLonde said. The county cannot use it for any other purposes.

Tax-foreclosed lots typically are offered in two auctions, one where each lot has a minimum bid equal to the taxes owed for it, and a second with no minimum bid. This time, the county used what leeway it has under state law to set a minimum bid of $100 for the second auction, LaLonde said. There was another new condition: all winning bidders must pay the summer 2013 property taxes within 20 days of the auction to get their land.

“The reason we put those procedures up was because we want to make sure we’re weeding out those that are looking to pay a very minimum amount for a property and flip it,” she said. “When they realize the market’s not there, it reverts back to us, but we have to wait three years.”

While LaLonde said she’s hoping to come up with “creative solutions” for the unsold lots, it’s likely most or all of them will be on the auction block again in 2014.

The county forecloses on a property after its owners fail to pay property taxes for three years, according to LaLonde. Each township or local government has first right of refusal to buy properties within its boundaries before they’re auctioned off. Unsold properties can be purchased for a minimum bid price by local governments; otherwise the county absorbs them.

Jordan Travis can be reached via email at jtravis@thealpenanews.com or by phone at 358-5688. Follow Jordan on Twitter @jt_alpenanews. Read his blog, A Snowball’s Chance, at www.thealpenanews.com.