Council approves auction of tax properties

Written by ECA Review

Stettler town council approved a date this autumn for the sale of properties with unpaid property taxes. The decision was made at the Aug. 1 regular meeting of council.

Councillors read a report on properties within the Town of Stettler that have long-term unpaid property tax bills; the report was presented by Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Greg Switenky, who added that there were some regular properties involved plus some mobile homes.

The CAO noted three regular properties were involved: 4810 48th Street (valued at $120,480), 4709 47th Street (valued at $123,590) and 4901 54th Street (valued at $181,300).
Switenky stated setting the date for the tax sale can be considered somewhat of a housekeeping item as the Town of Stettler hasn’t had to hold a tax recovery auction in between 12 and 15 years.

Property owners have right up until the time the auction starts to settle the outstanding tax balance, and once it’s paid the auction is instantly cancelled.

The CAO noted all three properties owe unpaid taxes for the current year, plus three previous years dating back to 2020.

It was also noted during discussion the town must notify the properties owners the auction is being scheduled, the auction must be publicly advertised and a copy of the advertisement must also be sent to the property owners.

In addition, if a property doesn’t sell at auction the town has the option of taking title to the property in question, but ownership can revert back to the original person if the unpaid tax debt is paid up.

Switenky noted a similar process is used for mobile homes that owe taxes but do not own the land on which they sit. He noted there were two properties in such a situation, #4 6017 52nd Ave (valued at $30,540) and #10 6017 52nd Ave. (valued at $29,160).

The CAO stated a reserve bid must be as close as reasonably possible to the assessed value; as well, the tax recovery auction can be stopped at any time if the mobile home owner pays all outstanding taxes.

If the mobile homes don’t sell at auction, the town may choose to become owner of that structure. Again, ownership can transfer back if all outstanding taxes are made good.
Switenky noted the amounts owing for mobile homes are much less than a standing structure.

Councillors unanimously set the 2023 tax public auction date as Nov. 28 and use the 2023 assessment values as the reserve bids for the five designated tax public auction properties.

Stu Salkeld
Local Journalism Initiative reporter
ECA Review

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