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La Plata County releases list of 797 delinquent property taxes

Pandemic had little impact on overall number of late tax payers
La Plata County Treasurer said COVID had no effect on the number of people who were delinquent on their property taxes in 2020. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald file)

The number of delinquent property taxes for La Plata County stayed fairly consistent from 2019 to 2020, despite the pandemic.

County Treasurer Allison Aichele said it is not surprising that property tax delinquency numbers stayed fairly constant through the pandemic.

Aichele

“There was a lot of help available through the pandemic,” Aichele said. “There were a lot of grants that were available for small businesses to make their tax payments. ... The other reason COVID didn’t have an impact is that it’s mostly mortgage companies that pay property taxes.”

During the pandemic, the federal government placed a moratorium on foreclosures, leaving mortgage companies to pay property taxes for some properties whether the owner was able to pay or not.

“The taxes are getting paid, so there isn’t an increase due to COVID. It’s the same as it’s always been,” Aichele said.

Countywide, the total number of delinquent properties was 797. The single property owner who owes the most is Francisco’s Building LLC, which owns a total of $41,578.57 in delinquent taxes.

One property owner, Thompson Land Management LLC, has 132 delinquent properties in the county totaling $9,765.51.

“These are small properties, so typically the amount for each property is small. Some of them are a little more than others, but it looks like they’re all around $100,” said Carolyn Murga, accounting specialist for La Plata County.

Most of Thompson Land Management’s properties are in the Oxford area, Aichele said.

“Linda Thompson owns multiple properties in Oxford, like over 100. Periodically, she forgets to pay her taxes,” Aichele said. “She will pay, she always does.”

Residents with outstanding property taxes who get payment to the county by the end of October will not have their properties go into the tax lien sale.

“We’ll have a lot of them come in,” Murga said. “Hopefully, half will come in before we hit tax lien sale. Which is ultimately what we’d like to see.”

In accordance with the law, a list of property owners who are delinquent on property taxes was posted last week in The Durango Herald. The listing can be found again in Wednesday’s print edition and in Oct. 20 print editions of the Herald.

Aichele said the number of properties that go up for tax liens are the same as the past couple of years, and that it rarely changes.

If a property goes to tax lien for three consecutive years, then a treasurer’s deed is issued, and whoever paid the taxes for the property over the three years receives the deed.

Properties that go to tax lien don’t often go to a treasurer’s deed, Aichele said.

“The number of properties that go up for treasurer’s deed are very low because people are not going to let their property be taken away only for nonpayment of taxes,” Aichele said. “Especially because we have the lowest taxes in the state of Colorado, and the state of Colorado tends to have the lowest taxes in the entire United States.”

njohnson@durangoherald.com

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