Wilkinson County, Georgia

 

AN ORDINANCE OF WILKINSON COUNTY, GEORGIA TO PROVIDE PROCEDURES FOR JUDICIAL IN REM TAX LIEN, FORECLOSURE; TO PROVIDE DEFINITIONS; TO PROVIDE FOR RELATED MATTERS; TO REPEAL CONFLICTING ORDINANCES AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES

WHEREAS, the Georgia General Assembly enacted Article 5 of Chapter 4 of Title 48 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to tax sales by providing for a method of judicial in rem foreclosure of tax executions; and

WHEREAS, there exist parcels of land in Wilkinson County upon which taxes are owed and which present collection difficulties as well as health and safety hazards to the public; and

WHEREAS, the judicial in rem tax foreclosure method appears to provide an effective and efficient means of tax foreclosure designed to avoid title objections to property sold at tax sales;

NOW, THEREFORE, IT IS HEREBY RESOLVED, by the Board of Commissioners of Wilkinson County, that, pursuant to OCGA 48-4-76, in addition to and as an alternate procedure to non-judicial tax foreclosures, the Wilkinson County Tax Commissioner be directed and is hereby directed to undertake foreclosure of delinquent tax executions on those properties which the Tax Commissioner may deem the use of such procedures more efficient and effective

BE IT ORDAINED, by the Board of Commissioners of Wilkinson County, Georgia, and it is hereby ordained by authority of same:

I. DEFINITIONS:

"Interested Party" means:

  1. Those parties having an interest in the property as revealed by a certification of title to the property conducted in accordance with the title standards of the State Bar of Georgia;
  2. Those parties having filed a notice in accordance with OCGA 48-3-9;
  3. Any other party having an interest in the property whose identity and address are reasonably ascertainable from the records maintained by the Tax Commissioner, Clerk of Superior Court, or other records maintained in the Courthouse. "Interested Party" shall not include the holder of the benefit or burden of any easement or right-of-way whose interest is properly recorded and which interest shall remain unaffected.

"Redemption Amount" means: The full amount of the delinquent ad valorem taxes, accrued interest at the rate specified in OCGA 48-4-20, penalties as determined in accordance with OCGA 48-2-44, and costs incurred by the county in collecting such taxes including, without limitation, the cost of title examination and publication of notice.

II. THE PETITION

(a) After an ad valorem tax lien based upon an approved digest has been delinquent for 12 months, the Tax Commissioner may commence tax foreclosure in accordance with this Ordinance.

(b) The Tax Commissioner may commence tax foreclosure by filing a petition in the Superior Court. Said petition must include:

    1. The identity of the petitioner and the name and address of the individual responsible for collecting the delinquent taxes;
    2. The Property Address;
    3. A description of the property;
    4. The tax identification number of the property;
    5. The calendar year(s) for which the taxes are delinquent;
    6. The principal amount of the delinquent taxes together with interest and penalties; and
    7. The names and addresses of parties to whom copies of the petition are to be sent in accordance with paragraph (c).

(c) The petitioner shall mail copies of the petition by certified mail, return receipt requested, to all interested parties whose identity and address are reasonably ascertainable. Copies of the petition shall also be mailed by first-class mail to the property address to the attention of the occupant(s) if any, and shall be posted on the property.

(d) Simultaneous with the filing of the petition, the petitioner shall file a lis pendens notice in the Office of the Clerk of the Superior Court;

(e) Within 30 days of the filing of the petition, a notice shall be published twice in the official organ of Wilkinson County. Said notice shall specify:

    1. The identity of the petitioner and the name and address of the individual responsible for collecting the delinquent taxes;
    2. The property address;
    3. A description of the property;
    4. The tax identification number of the property;
    5. The applicable period of tax delinquency;
    6. The principal amount of the delinquent taxes together with interest and penalties;
    7. The date and place of filing the petition.

III. THE HEARING

(a) The petitioner shall request a judicial hearing not earlier than 30 days after the filing of the petition. At such hearing any interested party has the right to be heard and to contest the delinquency of the taxes or the adequacy of the proceedings. If the Superior Court determines that the information set forth in the petition is accurate, the Court may render its judgment and issue an order finding and ordering as follows:

    1. The taxes are delinquent;
    2. Proper notice has been given to all interested parties;
    3. The property as described in the petition be sold in accordance with OCGA 48-4-75 et. seq.;
    4. The property shall be sold free and clear of all liens, claims and encumbrances other than:

                    a.    Rights of redemption provided under federal law

                    b.  Tax liens held by Georgia governmental entities other than the petitioner which are superior to the ad valorem taxes identified in the petition by virtue of OCGA 48-2-56

                    c. The holders of easements and rights-of-way described in OCGA 48-4-77(1)(c); and

                    d.  The holders of the benefits and burdens of any real covenants filed of record as of the date of filing of the petition;

                    e.  The sale shall become final and binding 60 days after the date of the sale in accordance with OCGA 48-4-81

(b) If upon production of evidence, the Court determines that any interested party died within the six month period of time immediately preceding the filing of the petition, the Court may postpone the hearing for a period of up to six months, to allow the administrator or executor adequate time to close the estate.

IV. THE SALE

  1. At any time prior to sale, any interested party may redeem the property by payment of the redemption amount to the petitioner, whereupon the petitioner shall dismiss the proceedings.
  2. Following the hearing and order of the Court in accordance with OCGA 48-4-79, a sale of the property shall be advertised and conducted on the date, time, place and manner which are required by law of Sheriffs sales. Such sale shall not occur earlier than 45 days following the date of the order.
  3. Except as otherwise authorized by law, the minimum bid price shall be the redemption amount. In the absence of a higher bid, the petitioner may, but is not obligated to tender its own bid in an amount equal to the minimum bid price and thereby become the purchaser.
  4. From and after the moment of the sale and tender of the successful bid price, the sale shall be final and binding, subject only to the right of the owner of the property to redeem the property upon payment into the superior Court the full amount of the minimum bid price. Such right of redemption of the owner shall exist for a period of 60 days from and after the date of the sale and shall be in accordance with the following provisions:
    1. Redemption by an owner shall result in a dismissal of the proceedings, and the petitioner shall refund to the purchaser the full amount paid by the purchaser at the sale;
    2. For purposes of redemption, "owner" shall mean the owner of record of fee simple interest in the property as of the date of filing of the petition, together with such owner's successors in interest by death or operation of law. This right of redemption shall not otherwise be transferable; and
    3. This right of redemption shall automatically terminate and expire upon failure to redeem within the 60-day period after the sale.
  1. If the property is not redeemed, then within 90 days after the sale, the petitioner shall cause to be executed and delivered to the purchaser a tax deed, together with a real estate transfer tax form and declaration.
  2. Within 90 days after the sale, the petitioner shall file a report of the sale with the Court, stating whether a sale took place, the sale price and the identity of the purchaser.
  3. If the sale price exceeds the minimum bid amount, the petitioner shall deposit the surplus into the registry of the Court. Such surplus shall be distributed by the Court to the interested parties, including the owner, as their interests appear and in the priority in which their interests exist.

V. EFFECTIVE DATE.

This Ordinance shall become effective on the 6th day of February 1996.

VI. CONFLICTING ORDINANCES REPEALED.

All ordinances in conflict with this Ordinance are hereby repealed.

APPROVED, by the Board of Commissioners of Wilkinson County, Georgia, in a regularly scheduled meeting held on the 6th day of February 1996.

WILKINSON COUNTY, GEORGIA, acting by and through its Board of Commissioners

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