The recent auction of tax-delinquent properties in Phillips County collected more than $66,000 for county and state government, the Commissioner of State Lands announced Tuesday.

The recent auction of tax-delinquent properties in Phillips County collected more than $66,000 for county and state government, the Commissioner of State Lands announced Tuesday.

The Land Commissioner’s office conducted the auction of delinquent properties recently at the Phillips County Courthouse. Seventeen bidders participated in the auction, purchasing 15 parcels for a total of $66,479.37 for Phillips County and state government.

The Land Commissioner’s office conducts one tax-delinquent land sale per county each year to dispose of land on which the taxes have been past due over two years.

“Only a small percentage of certified parcels are eventually auctioned, because a majority of the properties certified to our office are redeemed, which means the original owner pays the back taxes,” according to Commissioner John Thurston.

While redemption of property is the preferred method of disposing of tax-delinquent lands, Thurston notes the important role of land sales in returning inactive parcels to the tax rolls.

Registered bidders may purchase land at the auctions, Registration to bid at land sales is free. Upon sale of tax-delinquent property, the commissioner issues a limited warranty deed to the highest bidder.

Thurston’s office returns delinquent tax and interest collected, whether through redemption or sale, to the county taxing unit just as if the money had been originally collected there.

“In 2014, we returned more than $20 million to school districts and county governments,” Thurston said. “Of that, Phillips County received $143,887.69. This process ensures stable revenues for local public schools.”

Interested Arkansas residents may visit the Commissioner of State Lands website, www.cosl.org, to view the public auction catalog, a listing of properties offered at auction, or the post-auction sales of list of properties available that did not sell at auction.