New state legislation will allow Madison County to subdivide a large piece of property delinquent on its taxes and sell the tax notes separately in order to mitigate taxpayers' liability.

The tax sale on the property, a 219-acre plot located in the Parkway East Public Improvement District (PID), will be held Monday, Aug. 29, just before the county's regularly scheduled tax sale at the Board of Supervisors meeting room in Canton.

Tax sales on unpaid property taxes are held every year with investors agreeing to pay off the debt on delinquent parcels in order to reap a financial return.

The process also allows counties to recoup unpaid taxes and fill in holes in their budgets.

In 2009 no one agreed to pay the delinquent tax note on the Parkway East property - worth more than $500,000.

So, county officials lobbied legislators over the issue and came up with a new law concerning PID property, according to Chancery Clerk Arthur Johnston.

Now the property can be split up into smaller pieces and those pieces' tax worth will be auctioned off.

"This simply makes for more marketable pieces of property," Johnston said. "Instead of finding someone to pay the full $500,000 they will only have to pay $50,000, which makes it much easier."

Johnston was joined by Tax Collector Kay Pace, Tax Assessor Gerald Barber and other several other county officials and legislators in helping craft the legislation.

They met with property owners to help best subdivide the property into 13 separate parcels.

"We've worked really hard to get where we are with this," said Pace, who will conduct the tax sale later this month. "We had such a good relationship with legislators from this area and they helped us a great deal."

Madison County residents have until Aug. 26 to pay their property taxes or all those unpaid parcels will be part of the tax sale.

Once an investor agrees to pay the debt they receive returns of 1 percent per month (up to 18 percent) on their investment.

Pace said the large majority of property owners eventually pay their taxes, but those who don't could ultimately lose their property with the Chancery Clerk issuing a tax deed to whoever bought it at the tax sale.

Pace said the process takes several years and is rare in Madison County.

She said the majority of those involved are not looking to buy property, they are simply hoping to get a good return on their investment.

Anyone who enters the tax sale has to fill out an application form which can be downloaded from the Tax Collector's web site at www.madison-co.com. They can also be found at Pace's office, which updates and posts the lists of unpaid taxes online every 24 hours leading up to the sale.