Watertown’s annual tax sale will be held Thursday morning

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WATERTOWN — The tax sale certificates for about 190 properties, totaling about $471,962 in back taxes, could go up for public auction at 10 a.m. today.

But City Comptroller James E. Mills said on Wednesday morning some of those property owners will almost certainly end up paying the back taxes in full before the auction begins, so the list most likely will decrease as the auction approaches.

He hadn’t looked at the list as of Wednesday morning.

“It’s really about what it looks like Thursday,” he said.

Last year, 206 certificates that totaled $321,677 were sold.

The auction begins a two-year tax certificate process. The auction will be held at 10 a.m. in the third-floor council chambers of City Hall, 245 Washington St.

In recent years, the number of certificates going to auction has hovered around 160.

For several years, the Marietta investment firm of ICA Renovations LLC has been the biggest bidder at the public auction, gobbling up dozens of tax sale certificates.

Mr. Mills assumed ICA would be there for this year’s auction.

“I don’t know anything different,” Mr. Mills said.

The city holds tax sales annually for properties that have gone one year in arrears with city, county or city school district property taxes. The city is made whole when bidders, usually investment firms, pay those delinquent taxes following tax sale auctions.

Delinquent owners have two years after a tax sale to redeem their properties before the owners of the tax sale certificates can request to take ownership of the properties.

To do so, they must pay all outstanding taxes and any interest and penalties. The city imposes a 1-percent-per-month interest charge on properties, which then is given to the tax sale certificate holder, along with the money paid for the certificate, if the property owner pays in full.

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