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By VINCE LUECKE and KEVIN KOELLING
The Perry County News
PERRY COUNTY – A March 11 sale of tax-delinquent properties will offer at auction several parcels of real estate in the county, including land and buildings owned by Cannelton based Can-Clay.
State law allows county commissioners to offer for sale tax liens or certificates on delinquent properties that did not receive bids in the prior year’s tax sale.
At the yearly tax sale, the minimum bid is set at the full amount of back taxes owed. However, commissioners agreed last month to lower minimum bids for the certificate sale in hopes that someone will purchase the liens and eventually begin paying future taxes on the properties.
“The goal is to get the properties on which taxes haven’t been paid back on the tax rolls,” Perry County Auditor Connie Berger said.
“That’s why the amount is reduced to make it more likely someone will make a bid.”
In Can-Clay’s case the minimum bid is $34,910.13, a fraction of the $375,601.60 the company currently owes in back taxes and penalties.
Successful buyers will be issued a tax sale certificate but instead of having to wait a year to give owners time to pay back taxes and penalties, the time is reduced to just 120 days.
Property owners must pay back taxes, penalties and interest to the buyer to avoid losing ownership of the parcel either before the sale or before the 120-day deadline after the sale.
Perry County contracts with SRI Inc., to conduct tax and certificate sales. For more information and a full list of properties being offered at the March 11 sale, visit www.sritaxsale.com
Can-Clay officials could not be reached and company president Mark Bruce did not respond to an email seeking comment.
The News has reported several times on the impact Can-Clay’s failure to pay property taxes over the past nearly two years has had on Cannelton’s city government and schools.
A failure by the Can-Clay Corp. to pay its property taxes means the Cannelton City Schools Corp. loses out on 10 percent of the revenue it would receive from that source, the schools superintendent has said at recent school-board meetings.
“We didn’t take in as much the second six months as we did the first six months,” Alva Sibbitt said at a Dec. 12 meeting as he was discussing efforts to reduce a deficit plaguing the corporation.
“Apparently there are more people not paying taxes on property than there were last year. I can’t solve that problem; I don’t know how to solve it.”
“You can’t make them pay taxes, can you?” board President Bill Garrett asked.
“I cannot,” Sibbitt replied. “Keep our fingers crossed that Can-Clay will have a profitable year and be able to pay some of their back taxes.”
“Don’t hold your breath,” Garrett said.
In a February 2013 story, Bruce said the company would fully pay its back taxes and predicted 2013 would be a financially successful period for the company. However, public records available at http://perry.in.wthgis.com show the company last made tax payments on its several Cannelton properties in 2011.