Clinton Township awards bids on 29 tax-forfeited properties

By: Nico Rubello | C&G Newspapers | Published December 26, 2012


CLINTON TOWNSHIP — Clinton Township trustees recently awarded 29 tax-forfeited lots, condos and single-family homes for bids totaling close to $462,000.

Individual bid amounts, as approved at the Clinton Township Board of Trustees’ Dec. 17 meeting, ranged from $6,000 to $32,500, with bids coming in from both individuals and companies.

Under a tax reversion program offered by Macomb County, the township had purchased the tax-forfeited condos and homes from the county for the cost of the back taxes owed on them. But it’s an all-or-nothing deal, meaning either the township purchases all of the tax-forfeited properties available within its boundaries, or none at all. By taking control of the properties, the township is able to market them for sale, hopefully getting them back on the tax rolls.

Once the bidding process was opened in October, individuals and businesses submitted sealed bids throughout a month-long period, ending Nov. 29. The township then assessed the bids.

While the township does look favorably on the highest bids, township trustees on Dec. 17 made it clear that this wasn’t always the case, and that the township took into account the bidder’s planed use for the property.

For instance, on three of the properties, individuals whose bids were slightly behind the highest bid were awarded the property because they will use it as their primary place of residence. Township Treasurer Bill Sowerby said in October that owner-occupied purchases create greater stability in those neighborhoods.

In August, Clinton Township trustees voted to purchase 72 tax-forfeited properties for the $445,550 in back taxes owed on them.

Michigan property owners have two full tax seasons to make up their taxes before the property goes into foreclosure. At that point, the homeowner can work with the county to forgo foreclosure, but if no solution is reached, the property has to be forfeited.