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19 Ada County properties could be auctioned due to unpaid Irrigation District taxes

Nampa & Meridian Irrigation District: Properties could be auctioned for pennies on the dollar
Posted at 12:34 PM, Nov 21, 2019
and last updated 2019-11-21 14:34:56-05

BOISE, Idaho — Nineteen Ada County residential properties -- with a combined assessed value of about $6,232,800 -- could eventually be sold at public auction because their owners have not paid 2016 delinquent irrigation taxes owed to the Nampa and Meridian Irrigation District, according to NMID officials.

The District warned it will start tax deed action against the properties in January, if the delinquent taxes are not paid by December 31 of this year.

The total delinquent tax bill for the nineteen properties is $4,015.41; an average of about $200 per property. The tax bills range from $124.85 to $429.42.

“State law requires irrigation districts to take tax deed action against properties that are three years in arrears. The law then allows irrigation districts the right to sell the delinquent properties at public auction for the amount of taxes owed plus expenses -- not for the actual market value of the property,” said Nampa and Meridian Irrigation District spokesman Darren Coon.

There are eight Boise and eleven Meridian homes included in the tax deed action. “That means one Meridian property assessed at a value of $450,000 by the Ada County Assessor’s office could be sold for the $370.51 in unpaid taxes. A Boise property on the list is valued by the Assessor’s Office at $347,900, but could be sold at auction for $250.98 in unpaid taxes,” Coon said.

Property owners can avoid the tax deed action if they pay the delinquent taxes by December 31 which most property owners do.

“These sales are extreme cases that represent just a tiny fraction of the more than 41,000 patrons in our District. Still, the irrigation taxes are three years in arrears and that puts their properties in jeopardy. We go to great lengths to try to avoid these types of tax deed sale situations, but it is out of our hands. Idaho law is very specific about what steps the District is required to take to recover the tax money owed on the property,” Coon said.

Several efforts have been made to let the property owners know about the issue. Coon said NMID mailed certified letters outlining the debts to the property owners in July and August. This month, a legal notice is being published four times in the local newspaper detailing the tax deed warning. The District will begin the tax deed legal process January 1, 2020 against those property owners who have not paid.

“Occasionally the delinquent tax problem arises when the property is sold but the new owner information is not provided to NMID,” he stated. “That results in the annual tax assessment bill being wrongly sent to the previous owners. In other cases, property owners mistakenly believe they do not need to pay the annual NMID assessment because they do not receive or use irrigation water.”

“Idaho law specifies that all property owners in the district are to help pay the costs of maintaining the irrigation system, whether they use water or not. Also, some property owners wrongly believe the irrigation tax payment is part of their escrow tax payment being made by the mortgage company,” Coon added,

Local residents can find out if they have unpaid NMID irrigation taxes by visiting the District website at nmid.org. They can also check with the District office at (208) 466-7861.

(photo courtesy: Nampa and Meridian Irrigation District)