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David Sparks Ph.d Irrigation Auction
by David Sparks Ph.d, click here for bio

Program: Idaho Ag Today
Date: August 21, 2019

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Irrigation District to auction six SW Idaho properties over unpaid irrigation taxes. Six Ada and Canyon County properties with a combined assessed value of nearly $1.6 million will be sold at public auction because the owners have failed to pay a total of $3,443 in irrigation taxes owed to the Nampa & Meridian Irrigation District, District officials announced today.

One Ustick Road retail business with an assessed value of $885,600 could be sold for $886.64 in unpaid taxes, an amount that represents less than one-tenth of 1 percent (0.0010%) of its assessed value. Four properties are Ada County ( two in Boise and two in Meridian) and two in Nampa. The tax deed auction comes because the owners have failed to pay their irrigation taxes for the years 2015 through 2019.

A certified letter warning of the pending tax deed action was mailed in June to the property owners in addition to several other written notices. Legal notices listing the properties were also published in the local daily newspaper, according to Daren Coon, NMID Secretary/Treasurer.

"These sales are extreme cases that represent just a tiny fraction of the more than 37,000 patrons in our District. Still, the owners' failure to pay the annual assessments has put the 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," according to Coon.

Although not required, NMID officials took an extra step to notify the property owners by hand delivering a final notice on August 2.

The tax deed sale, mandated under Idaho law, sets the minimum bid for each property at the amount of taxes owed plus expenses related to the delinquency. However, the property owners can avoid their property being sold by paying the taxes due prior to the opening of the bids. Most tax deed bills are paid before the properties are sold, Coon noted.

The problem arises in some instances when the property is sold but the new owner information is not provided to NMID. That results in the annual tax assessment wrongly going 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, Coon added.

"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 said.

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.

NMID has since 1904 delivered irrigation water to 69,000 acres of farm, residential and commercial land in the Treasure Valley including pressurized irrigation to nearly 18,000 residential and commercial lots. For information about the District call (208) 466-7861

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