Delinquent taxes drop as economy improves

When times are tough, homeowners are more likely to forego
paying their property taxes.

But when things improve, the volume of delinquent taxes
drops, and that’s what happened with the online sale of tax certificates, that wrapped
up May 28.

Handled by D & T Ventures since 2008, when the county
switched from “courthouse steps” in-person sales to the online method, the sale
this year concluded with 703 certificates sold off to 26 bidders, with a total
value of $870,901.

Another 146 were struck back to the county, because they included
tax bills of under $250 on homesteaded properties.

The volume of tax certificates sold off represents a $165,228
drop, or a nearly 16 percent decline, from the volume sold in 2019, when 844
certificates, with a total value of $1,036,129 went to 24 bidders.

In addition, more than twice as many of the small
homesteaded property tax bills, 370, last year were struck to the county.

“My thought is that it’s an improving economy and that, along
with the stimulus money, may have played a part in getting property owners to
pay their taxes more this year versus last year,” said Gulf County Tax
Collector Shirley Jenkins.

In both years, bidders will get on average 6 percent for
their purchases, just above the 5 percent minimum and well below the 19 percent

“Everything went smoothly,” said Jenkins.

Through the online process, the competition of bidders
ratchets down, by one-quarter of 1 percent increments, what they are willing to
accept as interest on their investment. Bidders have to put up 10 percent of
the certificate’s face value prior to it being awarded them at auction. Checks
presented online are acceptable as down payment; credit cards are not. The
payment of the full certificate value must be paid by certified funds or wire

Jenkins has served as tax collector since 2001, when she was
first elected.   A board member of the Florida Tax Collectors
Service Corporation, and former District #2 director of the Florida Tax
Collectors Association, Jenkins serves on the board of directors of the Capital
City Bank and Washington Improvement Group, is a former member of the board of trustees
of Gulf Coast State College, and is a member of Port St. Joe Kiwanis Club, and the
Port St. Joe Garden Club.

Meet the Editor

David Adlerstein, The Apalachicola Times’ digital editor, started with the news outlet in January 2002 as a reporter.

Prior to then, David Adlerstein began as a newspaperman with a small Boston weekly, after graduating magna cum laude from Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts. He later edited the weekly Bellville Times, and as business reporter for the daily Marion Star, both not far from his hometown of Columbus, Ohio.

In 1995, he moved to South Florida, and worked as a business reporter and editor of Medical Business newspaper. In Jan. 2002, he began with the Apalachicola Times, first as reporter and later as editor, and in Oct. 2020, also began editing the Port St. Joe Star.

Wendy Weitzel The Star Digital Editor

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