CLAYTON, M0.(KMOX) — Facing the shame of losing their home in a back-taxes auction, hundreds of St. Louis county residents showed up to pay at least the minimum due to snatch their property from the sale.
On Friday and early this morning, a total of more than 300 properties owners flocked to the county government building in downtown Clayton to pay at least the taxes and penalties due from the first of three years owed.
“We got killed with payments,” said Assistant Collector of Revenue for St. Louis County Tim Lee, “We had a run on the office Friday afternoon. We were packed out all day long trying to get caught up so they would not be in the sale this morning.”
By the opening gavel a list of delinquent properties that had been as large as 4,100 parcels in the end of July was not shrunk down to around 3,000, Lee said.
Lee says in recent days he’s heard some of the stories behind what’s being called the larges delinquent property tax auction in county history with parcels representing some $30 million in back taxes for sale.
“You’ve got everything from seniors who have been in their houses for years and they own them now,” Lee said, “You’ve got people who used to escrow on their mortgages where they escrow their taxes and they don’t anymore and it just gets away from them.”
Another sign of the times could be seen in the auction itself. Lackluster bidding among professional speculators with many properties getting no bids at all. Only about 20 percent of the properties up for auction were expected to sell.
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