Smith County Commissioners Approve Online Auctions for Tax Exempt Properties | Local News

Smith County commissioners on Tuesday approved a policy that will allow online auctions for tax-exempt properties.

Currently, those auctions are held in person on the steps of the Smith County Courthouse on the first Tuesday of every month, attorney Jim Lambeth said.

Under state law, the county now has the ability to hold these auctions online, Lambeth said.

“If we go online, we think we’re going to open up our market, have a lot more buyers, probably attract more money, and also have a lot more excess revenue,” he said.

Lambeth said other counties that hold online property auctions have been researched to see how they conduct sales.

Smith County will implement rules for online auctions, including a $300 fee on each sale on each property collected from the buyer. Buyers will also be required to present a certificate that they owe no overdue taxes in Smith County before the deed is released to them, Lambeth said.

The hope is that bidding will start online by February 1. If successful, they will no longer be held at the courthouse. The auctions will always take place on the first Tuesday of the month and will start in the morning and end at 4 p.m.

Conducting online auctions “is the methodology for doing business these days, and it’s going to be a best practice, or a best practice,” Lambeth said. “We looked it over. We’ve really looked at it, and we think it’s time for us to add it here in Smith County.

Commissioners also on Tuesday approved an interlocal agreement allowing another city in Texas to use technology maintained by the Financial Crimes Intelligence Center (FCIC) in Tyler.

Smith County has entered into an agreement with the Electronic Recovery and Data Access Group to add state-of-the-art technology to the center that helps fight financial crimes. Part of the agreement allows the county to team up with other law enforcement agencies across the state to share data and information through the new system.

The city of San Marcos is now one of three other entities with access to the Financial Crimes Intelligence Center database. Others include the town of Farmers Branch, the town of Dickinson, and the Brazoria County Sheriff’s Office.

“It just shows the reach of the FCIC across the state,” Assistant District Attorney Thomas Wilson said. “We have agreements with cities in North Texas, the Houston area, and now Central Texas.”

On Tuesday, the court also approved elements that are part of Phase Two of the Smith County Road and Bridge Project:

A contract with Texana Land and Asphalt totaling approximately $2.5 million for approximately 8.1 miles of improvements to CR 285, CR 2274, and CR 2275.

  • A contract with Reynolds and Kay totaling approximately $1.2 million for approximately 3.25 miles of paving and drainage improvements to CR 188, CR1266 and CR 1347.
  • A contract with Texana Land and Asphalt totaling approximately $615,479 for approximately 2 miles of CR 1229 and CR 1250 upgrades.
  • A contract with Reynolds and Kay totaling approximately $278,326 for approximately 0.8 mile improvements to CR 4223 and CR 3195.

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