Nampa & Meridian Irrigation District: Properties could be auctioned for pennies on the dollar

Nampa & Meridian Irrigation District: Properties could be auctioned for pennies on the dollar
Posted at 10:14 AM, Dec 05, 2017
and last updated 2017-12-05 12:14:27-05

Nineteen Ada and Canyon county properties -- worth a total assessed value of more than $3 million -- face the possibility of being sold at public auction for pennies on the dollar because their owners have failed to pay delinquent 2014 irrigation taxes, Nampa and Meridian Irrigation District officials said Tuesday.

For example, one Meridian property with an assessed value of $328,900 could be sold for only $260.37 in taxes, interest and fees and administrative fees and costs.

“The total tax, penalty and administrative fees owing on the properties is $6,800.00; while the total assessed value according to Ada and Canyon counties assessor records, is $3,021,000. The delinquent 2014 irrigation taxes on the properties represents two-tenths of one percent of the total assessed value of the homes and land,” said NMID Secretary-Treasurer Daren Coon.

There are eleven properties in Meridian, four in Boise, and four in Nampa. Individual taxes owed by the property owners range from $246 to $1,103, he stated.

Idaho requires irrigation districts to initiate the tax deed action if the property owners have failed to pay their irrigation taxes for the past three years. “In this instance, the unpaid taxes are for 2014,” Coon pointed out.

NMID mailed certified letters in August to all delinquent property owners, officially notifying them that unless action is taken by the last day of December 2017 their properties will be put up for sale at public auction.  “The nineteen property owners are those who did not accept the certified letters, Coon said.

The District is also publishing the names and address of the twenty property owners four different times in local newspapers. In addition, a final warning will go out later this month.

“Tax deed action is the most distressing action 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 31st to pay at least their delinquent 2014 tax bill. Otherwise, the properties could be sold at auction in August 2018 for the taxes owing, plus additional legal and administrative fees. “Most property owners pay up prior to that, but each year some properties do end up being sold at auction,” Coon added.

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 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 assessments should call the District office at 208-466-7861

NMID supplies irrigation water to some 69,000 acres of farmland, residential and commercial lands -- including pressurized irrigation -- for more than 16,000 individual parcels of land in Ada and Canyon counties