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City holds tax sale certificate today

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The city comptroller’s office is expected to auction off tax sale certificates for about 150 properties today.

The property owners are not current on their city, school or Jefferson County taxes for 2011-12. As of 3 p.m. Monday, 159 properties with a total of $316,692.26 in back taxes were still on the list; Comptroller James E. Mills said the owners have until 10 a.m. today to make payments with his office.

Alexandria Bay developer Philip J. Simao has about a dozen properties under three corporation names, including the former DealMaker service center and an office building on Main Avenue, and a vacant car dealership at 1068 Arsenal St., on the tax sale certificate auction list. In all, he owes $126,719.07 in taxes.

Other notable properties are the North Side Improvement League at 633 Mill St., owing $2,920.64, and the Hitchin’ Post Tavern at 404 and 406 Court St., which has $950.87 in unpaid taxes.

The auction will be at 10 a.m. today in the third-floor council chambers in City Hall, 245 Washington St.

It begins the two-year tax sale certificate process.

The city annually holds tax sales for properties that have gone one year in arrears with city, county or city school district property taxes. The city is made whole when bidders, usually investment firms, pay those delinquent taxes following tax sale auctions.

Delinquent owners have two years after a tax sale to redeem their properties before the owners of the tax sale certificates can request to take ownership of the properties. To do so, they must pay all outstanding taxes and any interest and penalties. The city imposes a 1-percent-per-month interest charge on properties, which then is given to the tax sale certificate holder, along with the money paid for the certificate, if the property owner pays in full.

As of 3 p.m., the two-year period for redemption ends on about 20 tax sale certificates. Depending on whether the holder accepts the deed, the certificates auctioned off in 2010 could be transferred today.

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