Annual auction recoups unpaid taxes for county, while giving investors predictable return

Bidders watch a screen during the Calhoun County tax sale auction. GRAPHIC-ADVOCATE PHOTO/ERIN SOMMERS

On a Monday morning in mid-June, about 30 people met in a conference room in the Calhoun County Courthouse basement.

Treasurer Lori Erkenbrack looked between a large wall screen and paperwork in her hand.

“Is anyone interested in item 33?” Erkenbrack asks the bidders, who sit quietly at tables, lists of bidder numbers and properties in front of them.

At least two bidders have already passed on the property, for which just $21 was owed in back taxes.

“No?” Erkenbrack said when no bidders spoke up. “Thirty-three will be no buyer.”

That isn’t unusual for such parcels, Erkenbrack said. 

Read more in the July 12 edition.