The Dec. 4 delinquent tax sale for properties inside the Morristown city limits will be a momentous auction for two reasons, officials announced Thursday.
It will be the first tax sale where prospective buyers can bid online. County government has partnered with a company named GovEase, which will provide the support to allow internet bidding.
Bidders who are queasy about online bidding may still show up at the courthouse at 10 a.m. and participate in the tax sale in the conventional way, according to Katherine Jones-Terry, Hamblen County clerk and master.
The other noteworthy aspect of the sale is that it will be the first one conducted since Morristown City Council members resolved to hold tax sales more frequently limit tax and maintenance liens have made some properties virtually unsalable, according to Morristown City Attorney Lauren Carroll.
When the tax bill and property liens – in some cases including demolition costs – exceed the value of the properties, bidders tend not line up around the block to buy, according to Carroll, who says she’s certain some properties will not sell on Dec. 4 for that reason.
The clerk and master’s office has begun accepting registration from prospective buyers. Those who intend to bid online can sign up at www.govease.com/auctions
GovEase is providing two options for those wanting to learn the online bidding process. The more computer-savvy can watch and online webinar at www.goveease.com/help or www.goveeast.helpscoutdocs.com.
For those who more help, a GovEase representative will be conducting classes on Wednesday Nov. 13 the downstairs West Wing conference room at the Hamblen County Courthouse. The classes, which take approximately 30 minutes, will begin at 10 p.m. The last class will start at 3 p.m., according to Jones-Terry.
Online bidders can access the sale from a phone, tablet or computer. Those bidding in person will be able to view online bids on a television, according to Terry.
The city attorney says councilmembers currently to not have a policy for disposing of properties on which the taxes and liens exceed the value of the property. Councilmembers assigned the task of formulating a recommendation to Carroll and Joey Barnard, assistant city administrator, but didn’t give them a hard deadline.
One option is reducing the amount owed on the properties. Another option is buying the properties, making improvements and then trying to market them outside the tax sales, according to the city attorney. There are 44 properties on the tax-sale list. Carroll says she anticipates that number will drop substantially by Dec. 4 as property owners pay the delinquent tax and liens.