>Business was brisk, as auctioneer Gary Timmerman cajoled bidders during last week’s sale of foreclosed county properties. When the bidding was done, a number of parcels had new owners and those lots had been returned to the tax roles.
It took a number of county employees to do it, but after Friday's auction of county foreclosed properties was over, the county had an additional $97,500 in its coffers. Plus 11 parcels of land had been returned to the tax rolls.
The auction, with Fairgrounds manager Gary Timmerman using nearly every traditional auctioneer's trick in the handbook, was the first held since 1994. County Judge Scott Cooper pointed out that with that much of a lapse in time since the last sale, there was a steep learning curve in getting this one put together.
"We learned a few things along the way that will serve us well in putting together the next sale," he said, "which I hope will be next year."
Not having held a foreclosure sale in a number of years, Cooper explained, means that no one was familiar with how much work was involved. "We learned to start the bidding level lower in order to get more bidders involved," he said. "And we need to involve more people, spread our borders to include possible bidders in Bend and Redmond."
Holding the sale, and offering the list of more than 100 parcels of tax foreclosed land, will speed up the process of getting many of those lots back in public hands. According to state law, until those parcels on the books had been offered to the public at auction, they could not be offered individually.
Now that the public has had the opportunity to purchase the lots by bidding, the remainder are available for direct sale. All a person has to do is stop by the county court office and pick up the purchasing form and make an offer. With that offer in hand, the county court can then decide whether or not to accept the proposed sale.
Proceeds from Friday's sale will be used for county building acquisition and improvements. Combined with previously budgeted funds, the money will be used for projects such as fairgrounds repairs, the jail remodel, new space for the building department, ADA compliance and other projects.
Cooper gave a lot of credit for the success of the morning auction held, as prescribed by county ordinance on the courthouse steps, to the involved county officials. "I would like to thank Sheriff Rodd Clark, who has the statutory responsibility for conducting the sale, Della Harrison, for shivering her way through the sale as clerk, Gary Timmerman, who auctioneered with grace and humor, County tax collector Kathy Gray and legal counsel Jeff Wilson who managed the pre-sale paperwork, Tom Green and his team who, along with Jerry Crafton, re-examined all the properties before the sale to establish minimum bids and Sherry Palmer and Vikki Smith who answered countless pre-sale phone calls. This was truly a team effort, and it paid off."