83 properties could be auctioned off dirt cheap

Posted at 3:47 PM, Nov 23, 2015
and last updated 2015-11-23 17:47:04-05

Final notices have been mailed to 83 area residents warning they could see their properties sold at public auction next August for pennies on the dollar, because they have failed to pay delinquent three-year-old tax bills assessed by the Treasure Valley’s largest irrigation district, officials with the Nampa and Meridian Irrigation District said Monday.

In one instance a Boise property with an assessed value of $415,000 could be sold to recover only $697.27 in irrigation district taxes. The total tax bill for all 83 properties is $109,493, approximately a quarter of the assessed value of just the one property.

Of the 83 properties, 50 are in Ada County and 33 in Canyon County -- included in the tax deed action with an average irrigation tax bill of $1,319, NMID officials said.

The procedure, known as tax deed action, is mandated under Idaho law against property whose owners have failed for three consecutive years to pay District irrigation tax assessments; in this case, the years 2012 through 2014, according to NMID spokesman Daren Coon.

“Tax deed action is the most unpleasant duty we are required to take against land owned by our patrons. It represents a last ditch measure the District goes to great length to prevent, but which state law demands if the taxes are not paid,” Coon explained. “Fortunately, these properties represent just a tiny percentage of our 38,000 property owners in the District.”

The property owners have until December 31 to pay at least their delinquent 2012 tax bill or the full three-year tax bill prior to the auction. Otherwise, the properties will be sold at auction in August 2016 for the taxes owing, plus additional legal and administrative fees. Most property owners do pay up prior to that; but each year, some properties do end up being sold at auction, Coon added.

Certified letters warning of the pending tax deed action were sent out in August to the property owners. A final warning letter was mailed November 20 to the delinquent property owners.

Coon noted the problem sometimes grows out of a mistaken belief that property owners do not need to pay the annual assessment because they do not receive or use irrigation water. In other cases, property owners assume the irrigation tax payment is part of their escrow tax payment being made by the mortgage company but it is not.

The taxes are used to pay for operation and maintenance of the canals, laterals, drains and dams that make up the District's water delivery system. Levies also are assessed against individual subdivision parcels using pressurized irrigation systems in subdivisions around the valley.

NMID officials stress that individuals who own property inside the District and have questions about their tax assessment payment or the Nampa and Meridian Irrigation District should call the District office at 466-7861.

For a link to the addresses in question, visit here.