(Source: Darren Daronco The Sun, Yuma, Ariz.) – Over 170 residents of the Avenue BandC Colonia and Gadsden improvement districts are in danger of having their property auctioned if they fail to pay their delinquent assessments by Feb. 8.
“We are trying everything we can to reach out to these property owners,” said County Administrator Robert Pickels. “These people need to contact the county as soon as possible so we can try to figure out ways to help them.”
The districts were created as a way to help defray the cost of improving sewage access for the residents. Most of the $23 million project was financed by grants, but the remaining portion was to be paid for by a special assessment which the property owner would have to pay each year.
But these special assessments are covered by a strict state statute that requires delinquent properties be auctioned immediately after the deadline passes. For 174 delinquent property owners in the districts, they have until 5 p.m. Feb. 8 to pay or their property will be auctioned at 10 a.m. on Feb. 9.
“At the beginning of this project we stressed to all the residents how important it was to pay this assessment, but for some reason, there are people who are delinquent,” Pickels said. “The frustrating thing for the county is that we have no discretion. The statute is so rigid that we have no leeway to help these people once the deadline passes.”
Pickels said the statute was designed to ensure the remaining costs for the improvements would be paid.
But even if an individual’s property is sold, they do not immediately lose their home. Property owners would have one year to pay the purchase price and any interest accrued.
So if a property sells for $20,000 at the auction, the original property owner would have to pay the $20,000, plus interest if he or she wants to retain the property. If they don’t pay the amount, they would be forced to leave.
“It’s an extreme result. Which is why the property owners need to act now and contact us so we can try to resolve this before their property goes to auction,” Pickels said.
If your are one of the affected property owners, you can contact the Yuma County Improvement District Specialist at (928) 341-2500.
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Source: Darren Daronco The Sun, Yuma, Ariz.