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Hopkins County Tax Foreclosure Sales, Tax Resales Can Soon Be Conducted Online

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Final Plat Approval For Noah Joy Estates Granted

Hopkins County Commissioners Court Monday passed a resolution which will allow tax foreclosure sales and tax resales to be conducted online instead of on the courthouse steps in the near future. The Court also rejected a truck bid, approved a final plat for Noah Joy Estates and a letter of engagement for the county’s annual financial audits.

Hopkins County Commissioners Court

Tax Foreclosure, Resale Policy

On a motion by Precinct 3 Commissioner Wade Bartley, which Precinct 1 Commissioner Mickey Barker seconded, the Commissioners Court approved a resolution allowing online auctions for tax foreclosure sales, tax resales and adopted rules governing these online auctions.

“This will be interesting. It’s something that’s innovative. Linebarger has spoken with us and actually brought a program for us to watch recently where instead of doing the sales historically on a particular Tuesday out here on the courthouse steps, they would actually be done online. They are experience is that the land, the properties, would bring more money. There’s no doubt,” Hopkins County Judge Robert Newsom said, when introducing the topic at Monday’s regular Commissioners Court meeting. “Local folks can still bid, but it will be online.”

“That’s the way we auction off our used equipment now, and it seems to work pretty well,” Barker said,

Newsom pointed out that doing so has generated more money that another type of live, in-person auction typically would bring.

The resolution sites Texas Property Tax Code Sections 34.1(a-1) and 34.05(e), as allowing Commissioners Courts to authorize the online auction of tax foreclosure sales and tax resales and to adopt rules that will become effective 90 days after they are published in the county’s real property records. The resolution cites online auctions as an efficient way to sell properties to individuals and entities who pay taxes, penalties, interest and costs associated with the property, with the money paid going to those legally entitled to it and to insure those amounts are paid in the future.

The resolution also includes “Rules Governing Online Auctions For Tax Foreclosure Sales And Tax Resales.” First, all online tax sales and resales have to comply with the rules as outlined in TPTC Chapter 34 and sold by an online auction service provider.

Online bidding can begin any time but must conclude by 4 p.m. on the first Tuesday of each month or the first Wednesday if the first Tuesday occurs on Jan. 1 or July 4.

To be eligible to bid, the individual must register as a bidder on the online bidding platform, where the bidding and sale will take place and comply with rules and guidelines established by the person charged with conducting the sale and the online auction sale provider. A deposit of 5% or more of the total bid amount for all properties the bidder intends to bid at the auction before they place a bid; the funds have to be verified and added to the bidder’s available account balance before the bidder can participate in the auction. The winning bidder must come up with the remaining balance within 24 hours of the auction closing. Unused deposits can be refunded to the bidder or remain in the bidder’s escrow account.

Failure to pay the balance or complete the purchase within 24 hours will result in a forfeiture bid. Property not paid in full may be auctioned again at a later date.

Online bidders can place bids in increments of $100 of any amount higher than the minimum opening bid, or current higher bid in the auction.. The minimum bid includes an online auction fee of $300 for costs and fees associated with the online auction, included as an expense of the foreclosure sale to be paid by the winning bidder. The $300 will also apply to tax foreclosed properties that have previously been struck off and that may be offered for resale.

Purchasers will receive an ordinary type of Sheriff’s Deed or Tax Resale Deed that is without warranty, expressed or implied, the rules approved with the resolution state. All property sold in a tax foreclosure sale or resale are “as is” without warranty to the highest bidder on a “buyer beware” basis. All completed sales are final.

All property purchased at an online sale may be subject to a statutory right of redemption as set out in Texas Property Tax Code.

The officer conducting the sale may remove properties from the online sale at any time also, the guidelines stipulate.

Truck Bids

The county posted and received two bids for two different trucks from one vendor, Jay Hodge Chevrolet, for a 2022-2023 crew cab 3/4-to work truck for Hopkins County Sheriff’s Office. Hopkins County Auditor Shannah Aulsbrook asked the Commissioners Court to reject both bids.

“I spoke to Tanner [Crump, HCSO Chief Deputy] and the sheriff, and we are going to reject these bids and rebid it, because they are interested in the two vehicles. Since we only bid one, we need to change our bid process to two vehicles. These vehicles would be paid for with their forfeiture funds, but we still have to go through the bid process because its government,” Hopkins County Auditor Shannah Aulsbrook reported Monday.

Precinct 3 Commissioner Wade Bartley made a motion, which Precinct 4 Commissioner Joe Price seconded, to reject both truck bids as recommended. The court unanimously agreed. The county will again post and accept bids for trucks, and from those consider accepting one or more, to be paid for using money from HCSO’s asset forfeiture fund.

Final Plat

The Commissioners Court also approved a final plat for Noah Joy Estates.

County Clerk Tracy Smith reported everything that was required appeared to be in order.

“We have met and I’ve been watching this situation. It looks like it’s all engineered and ready to go. I move that we approve it,” Barker said.

The developer, when seeking preliminary plat approval on May 9, 2022, told the Commissioners Court the development would turn 60 acres into 29 lots, with a site-build modern farmhouse on it.

Most lots as planned are to be 2 acres each, some bigger. The development is to be located along FM 1567 west at County Road 1168 near Greenview, a representative for the developer noted Monday, Oct. 24, 2022. She indicated the developer or the owner would construct and be responsible for maintaining roads within the development.

At the May court meeting, County Fire Marshal Andy Endsley reported the developer has gone above and beyond to meet all terms asked, including agreeing to an engineering study and contact the soil conversation officials for a 100-year study to determine sustainability of water, and whether an elevated tank or dry hydrant will be used.

Noah Joy Estates and Piper Jay Estates, a second project the developer in May sought preliminary plat approval for, would be on 10 acres, which would be divided as well. The two pieces of land, as originally planned the developer said, would result in 38 new homes, to be constructed over the next few years.

Precinct 1 Commissioner Mickey Barker made a motion, which Bartley seconded, to approve the final plat request for Noah Joy Estates. It was then approved by the court.

Audit Agreement

Auditor Aulsbrook’s asked the Commissioners Court to approve a letter of engagement with Rutledge Crain & Company to perform the county’s annual audit for comprehensive financial statements and federal and state single audit for fiscal year 2022.

The firm is scheduled to spend 3-4 weeks beginning going over county finances Nov. 7, 2022. The letter is a required part of the process for the company to do the audit, Aulsbrook explained

The fees quotes have not changed. The cost will not exceed $43,950 for the regular audit, and will be based on how long it takes to complete the audit. If an additional single audit becomes necessary, the cost will not exceed $11,500.

Based on Aulsbrook’s recommendation, Barker made a motion, which Bartley seconded, approving the letter of engagement with Rutledge Crain & Company for their outside auditing services. The court unanimously approved.

Other Items

Bartley made a motion, which Precinct 2 Commissioner Greg Anglin seconded, to approve the cooperative agreement with Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service for the program in Hopkins County. The motion was unanimously approved by the Commissioners Court.

The Commissioners Court also approved a requests by electric utility providers to construct electrical power distribution facilities across county roads.

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Author: Faith Huffman

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