Berrien County tax sale the largest ever

Berrien County tried to make the best of a tax delinquency situation—that has never been worse.

A total of 180-tax delinquent properties were featured at the county tax sale on Tuesday.

That’s a 70-percent increase over last year’s sale.

Some bidders came to the auction to look for bargains.

“Actually I hadn’t even thought about buying a boat slip you know,” said Jeff Tilly of St. Joseph. “I’m renting a slip for three thousand bucks a year right now.”

Tilly ended up buying two of the ten tax delinquent boat slips featured at the auction. “I bought two slips for 4-thousand dollars. Even if I rent one out I should be able to make some money on that,” said Tilly.

On the other end of the spectrum, at least one person came to the auction looking to live the American dream. Bridget Catholic became a first time home buyer the only way she saw possible.

“I’m here because I need a home for me and my kids. I’m living with someone else and we need our own spot,” she said. When asked if she ever thought she’d buy her first home at a delinquent tax auction, Catholic said, “I always figured I’d go through a mortgage company but right now I can’t do that because my credit is not so great.”

Today, Bridget’s bid was good enough. She was hoping to move into her new home by the end of the day.

An Oregon resident came to today’s auction looking for a home away from home. “We came out and saw this property nearby a friend of ours and wanted to bid on it,” said Sam Marvel.

While Marvel’s bid fell short, the auction seemed to go a long way in making the neighborhood of the Murphy family a nicer place to live.

“I bought some property some land next door to our home,” said Veronica Murphy of Benton Harbor.

Murphy wasn’t entirely pleased with the way the former owners were caring for the property.

She planned to plant flowers and put up a fence.

The auction raised some 286-thousand dollars.

The properties that did not sell will go up for auction again in September with one big difference.

Next time, there won’t be a minimum bid equal to the amount of back taxes owed.

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