GOSHEN — Of the 584 land certificates that were available at Elkhart County’s annual property tax sale, 234 sold for $4.7 million, which includes back taxes owed to the county and the surplus that bidders offered for the land.
The county administration building in Goshen opened three rooms for the fall sale Wednesday, Oct. 2, which drew more than 150 people, including 91 registered bidders. Before the tax sale started, the county had collected another $1.8 million from property owners who came forward with their delinquent taxes and removed their land from the sale.
“The purpose of the sale is to aid Elkhart County government in retrieving or receiving taxes on properties needed to meet governmental functions in our county and the various units of government, the cities, the towns, the schools, the libraries and that type of thing,” county attorney Gordon Lord told the crowd before the sale started. “It isn’t the county’s desire to sell peoples’ properties to their disadvantage, but the law requires the county to do this and move forward with an auction by soliciting the help of people like you who might bid.”
Landowners who owe back taxes and penalties have up to one year to redeem their properties, Gordon said. After that, the highest bidders at the auction can pursue a title for the land.
Indianapolis-based SRI Inc. led the tax sale. The company conducts tax sales, commissioners’ certificate sales and commissioners’ deed sales for more than 80 counties in Indiana, Michigan and Colorado.