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Tax sale scheduled for Tuesday in Washington County

June 29, 2009|By DAN DEARTH

HAGERSTOWN -- About 170 Washington County properties are expected to go on the auction block Tuesday during a tax collector's real estate sale.

The sale, which is to begin at 9 a.m. in the rear of the Washington County Office Building at 35 W. Washington St., is held annually to sell properties on which taxes are overdue, Washington County Treasurer Todd L. Hershey said.

Properties are offered for bid if the taxes aren't paid by 4:30 p.m. the day before the sale.

When the county began advertising on June 6 that a tax sale would be held, about 315 properties were listed.

Those properties included at least eight in the heart of Hagerstown's Arts and Entertainment District -- or about one block in each direction of Public Square -- a popular Keedysville restaurant and two hotels. Owners of all of the properties paid their taxes by the deadline Monday.

Demcore Development -- the owner of the properties in the Arts and Entertainment District -- paid its taxes over several days in the past two weeks. Those properties are at 26 E. Antietam St. (rear), 1 N. Potomac St., 13-15-17 S. Potomac St., 43-45 S. Potomac St., 55-57 S. Potomac St., 29-31 E. Washington St., 2 Public Square and two addresses listed as one property at 6-16 W. Washington St. and 20-22 Public Square.

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Demcore also owed taxes on the Baltimore Street Station Car Wash at 32 W. Baltimore St. and residential units at 125-127 E. Washington St., according to tax records.

Altogether, Demcore's past-due real estate taxes amounted to about $133,000 before the company settled its debt.

Mike Deming, president of Demcore Development, could not be reached Monday for comment.

The owners of the following three properties paid their taxes Monday:

o Best Western Grand Venice Hotel Wedding & Conference Center at 431 Dual Highway, owned by Paradise Hospitality Group LLC -- $60,367.05

o Hagerstown Hotel & Convention Center at 1910 Dual Highway, owned by Bahman Inc. -- $13,700.05

o Red Byrd Restaurant at 19409 Shepherdstown Pike in Keedysville, owned by Red Byrd Associates LLC -- $9,940.97

The owners of those businesses could not be reached Monday for comment.




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Washington County Treasurer Todd L. Hershey said tax bills are sent out each July notifying property owners that their taxes are due. If the taxes go unpaid, reminders are sent in the first weeks of January, February and March. Legal notices are sent to delinquent property owners in April before the properties are advertised in June as part of a real estate sale.

Hershey said that at today's real estate tax sale, the minimum bid on each property will be the amount of the delinquent taxes owed, plus interest and penalties.

The high bidder on each property will receive a certificate of sale and will have the right to file for foreclosure if the debtor fails to pay the taxes owed within six months, Hershey said. By filing for foreclosure, the high bidder asks the Circuit Court to take the right of redemption from the original owner.

Hershey said if the high bidder does not file for foreclosure within two years, the certificate of sale is voided and the bidder loses any rights to the property, as well as the money he has paid on the property.

"After the sale, most people come in and correct the problem," Hershey said. "Ninety percent (of the properties) typically are redeemed."

If the property holder redeems the property, then the highest bidder is reimbursed.

Washington County will have the right to assume ownership of the properties that don't receive the minimum bid, Hershey said.

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