Newschannel 6 has been doing some digging into the Wichita County Delinquent Legal Report on property taxes. Certain names on the list jumped out, like the City of Wichita Falls and the City of Electra, but according to county tax collectors, there's nothing to panic about.
Wichita County Delinquent Tax Collector Clay Glasgow explained what happens when a property goes under. He said, "We file a suit against the property for the delinquent taxes. If the owner did not continue with some kind of payment plan with us to repay those taxes...we'd continue on to court to get a judgment."
At the conclusion of any legal proceedings, the city and county courts agree on a minimum bid for the property. An auction is held each month by the Sheriff's Office, but if no one bids the minimum price the property is struck off to the city it rests in to be taken care of.
The city then becomes responsible for maintaining the grounds of that property or tearing down any structures that may pose a health or safety risk city officials can place a lean on the property for services rendered.
Even though the property failed at auction once, the city can try again, and with less restrictions. Glasgow said, "They have the option to try and resell that property and the restriction that they don't have - that we do have when we first take it to sheriff's sale - is they can auction that off or sell that for a lesser price. They don't have to stick to that minimum bid."
Glasgow said the overall goal is to get the property back into the hands of a taxpayer who will pay taxes on the property. We asked him how successful county cities were with reselling properties. He said, "This last month the City of Wichita Falls took 9 properties, I believe, and if I'm not mistaken 7 of those did resell.
Glasgow said cities can face budget issues if they have too many properties to maintain and are unable to sell, but he added resales have gotten better in the last few years.