William Byer deed

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Mature tax deed gives man roadway

By Billy Davis

Supervisors listened Monday to a Germantown, Tenn. man complain that property he purchased through a 2009 tax sale is unsuitable for development.

A letter addressed from William Byer to the Board of Supervisors states that the parcel at Sardis Country Estates is “subdivision roads” and “should not have been offered for sale.”

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Byer appeared at the First District meeting where he requested reimbursement for his purchase plus interest, which he said totals $185.52.

Byer cited “ethics, honesty and judiciary responsibility” as reasons supervisors should reimburse his investment.

Supervisors should declare the sale “erroneous,” Byer told the county board.

The property is a four-acre strip in the Cole’s Point community according to a copy of Byer’s tax receipt, which he shared with the board.

Board attorney Bill McKenzie explained to Byer that Panola County government is required by law to sell tax-delinquent properties.

McKenzie, who is experienced in real estate law, went on to tell Byer that the purchase of property in tax sales is a “buyer beware” scenario.

County officials have said almost all properties bought at tax sales are purchased for the 1.5 percent monthly interest, not for property itself. Most property owners eventually pay their taxes before the taxes mature after three years, meaning the investment is a guaranteed return.

The owner of the Sardis Country Estates property, however, apparently never paid the delinquent taxes for three years, leaving Byer with a tax receipt after the most recent sale in August.

“That property belonged to someone at sometime. You bought a parcel of land, not a road,” Board President Kelly Morris told Byer.

McKenzie challenged Byer to present evidence the county misled him and now owes him a reimbursement. The property owner said he will return at an October board meeting to discuss the matter again.

In other county board action, insurance agent Kirk Scoggins told supervisors that claims by county employees are less than premiums paid.

Scoggins shared year-to-date figures that showed claims are 89 percent of premiums that have been paid.

The industry average is 85 percent, Scoggins later told a reporter.

Panola County government has had difficulty finding and keeping health insurance in past years when claims overtook premiums. Blue Cross/Blue Shield is the current insurance provider.

Scoggins’ figures showed Panola County has paid $1,192,000 in insurance premiums from August 2011 to August 2012. Claims during the same period totaled $1,059,000.