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273 parcels on auction block for back taxes

Nye County will have 273 properties to auction off in the annual tax sale April 23, up from the 235 listed last year.

Many of the properties, 87 of them, are small, vacant lots less than an acre in the Calvada Valley North subdivision. Many are quarter-acre or 8,800-square-foot lots with minimum bids of just more than $800. Another 78 parcels are in the Calvada Meadows subdivision, many with 20,000 square feet, but most with minimum bids under $1,000.

Nine properties have a residence, the rest are vacant lots. The vast majority, 259 parcels, are in the Pahrump sale, 17 are being auctioned off in Tonopah April 21.

Nye County Treasurer Richard Billman predicted the 2014 tax sale would be the biggest the county ever had. He said a lot of properties being auctioned were part of the Hans Seibt bankruptcy, which was settled recently.

The downturn in the economy is also still being felt in the annual tax sale, he said.

“It would seem logical to me, because of how long it’s been since the big drop, the bubble burst, it would seem to me like we’re getting to the end. The ones who let their properties go, those went within four years. These are ones where people hung on longer. So it seems to me it would be getting winnowed down I hope. That would show we’re doing better,” Billman said.

There’s a reason a lot of properties are being sold in the Calvada North and Calvada Meadows subdivisions, he said.

“A lot of them are properties that people bought thinking they were going to do something with them one day but there’s no water and sewer so they’re unbuildable. They’re the ones that go cheap and the reason they go cheap is they’re not worth saving,” Billman said. “I think in some cases if you could buy two lots, but if you’re buying in an area that’s covered by Utilities Inc. they won’t let you sink a well. To pay them the money it would cost to run a line to you, that’s expensive.”

Originally, 339 properties were up for auction in just the Pahrump tax sale, before 80 owners came into the treasurer’s office at the last minute before the March 18 deadline to settle their tax delinquencies.

“They come in at the last moment and pay off, but a lot of them wait past the last moment. Then it’s too late. March 18th was the last day you could pay your taxes and redeem them out of the trust,” Billman said.

The costliest property up for sale is a property at 1050 E. Bourbon St., on the old Willow Creek golf course, with five apartment units and three built-in garages going for a minimum bid of $9,492. Billman said the property owner is upset and claims he wasn’t notified by an employee. The owner plans to be at the tax sale to try to get his property back, which isn’t unusual at the annual sales, but Billman said there have already been three phone callers inquiring about it. A few owners who were outbid in an attempt to reclaim their former property got emotional last year, adding some drama to the day-long event.

The tax sale last year drew a brisk round of bidding. Nye County sold 120 parcels in Pahrump and another 20 in Tonopah. Billman said the treasurer’s office collected just under $1 million.

One bidder last year, Bernard Hoffman of Los Angeles, had reservations about buying property this year amid talk by the Basin 162 groundwater management committee of a moratorium on growth until a water plan is prepared. Hoffman bought seven properties at the tax sale last year for $40,500.

“When I buy properties at a tax sale I think I’m getting a fair shake,” Hoffman said. “There’s nebulous information and I don’t know which way it’s going to go.”

Hoffman described himself as very conservative at business, unwilling to take chances.

Billman doesn’t think a moratorium is going to happen, at least not in the foreseeable future.

“There’s a couple members on that board that don’t understand when they say things like that there are consequences to what you said,” he said.

Lambertucci’s Roma of Nevada picked up 23 properties, owned by developer Michael Lach. Another nine parcels went to the Kollhopp Family Trust. Mohit Yadav bid on nine parcels.

The Sheree Stringer Family Trust, named after Nye County Personal Property Appraiser Sheree Stringer, collected three properties at the tax sale. Valley Electric Association bid on two parcels, submitting the minimum bids. The Episcopal Diocese of Nevada bid $9,000 for a property at 611 W. Irene St. with a minimum bid of $2,914 that didn’t include personal property.

Rand Holding LLC submitted the highest bid of $100,000 for a parcel at 1060 E. Third St. which had a minimum bid of $9,784.

Bidders must submit a $500 money order, cashier’s check or cash to participate in the auction. The properties must be sold for an amount not less than the taxes, costs, penalties and interest that can be charged against the property. Registration for the southern tax sale begins at 8 a.m., April 23 in commission chambers, 2100 Walt Williams Dr. in Pahrump, the sale begins at 9 a.m.

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