More than 150 pieces of property throughout Valencia County are headed for the auction block due to unpaid property taxes.

“Once properties are over three years delinquent, that’s when they are turned over to the (New Mexico Taxation and Revenue Department) and the state can do what it wants,” said Valencia County Treasurer Ron Saiz.

State statute allows taxation and revenue to, among other solutions, publicly auction off properties in order to recover the delinquent taxes. The state is offering up properties for auction at 10 a.m., Wednesday, March 15, at the Valencia County administration building, 444 Luna Ave., SE, in Los Lunas.

Each piece of property has a minimum bid ranging from a few hundred dollars up to $7,000. Saiz said if the properties don’t sell for the minimum bid, they will go through a second round of bidding at 10 percent of the initial minimum bid.

“The ultimate goal is to get the properties sold so they can get back to earning taxes for the county,” the treasurer said. “Every property is different and, depending on what it sells for, first and foremost the back taxes to the state will be paid. Second is penalties and interest and the county is last. I don’t anticipate the county making a lot of money. Our big thing is getting the properties back on the tax rolls.”

A five-and-a-half page legal advertisement listing the delinquent properties began running in the Valencia County News-Bulletin last week and will be published in the March 2 and 9 editions.

After the ad began running, Saiz said his office began getting calls from property owners on the list who don’t want to lose their property.

“The state sends a letter to owners and red tags the property (before the auction),” he said. “The legal ad is kind of the last notice.”

Property owners have until the day before the auction at 5 p.m., Tuesday, March 14, to pay the taxes and save their parcels from auction.

The taxation and revenue department has already pulled back nearly three dozen properties from the auction as of Tuesday, Feb. 28.

New Mexico Tax and Revenue and media contact Charlie Moore said properties could be taken off an auction list for a variety of reasons, including the arrears being paid in full, an assessment issue of some type, the department’s failure to notify the owner properly and the landowner coming forward or the delinquent owner entering into an installment agreement with taxation and revenue.

The following properties are no longer up for sale but may still appear in the legal ad — items 34, 35, 38, 39, 40, 42, 44, 55, 58, 76, 99, 107, 108, 111, 116, 119, 120, 128, 137, 138, 143, 144, 150, 151, 154, 155, 157, 166, 168, 170, 173, 174 and 185.

Moore also said the department is working on a second auction in Valencia County this spring of more than 200 properties.

“In the second auction, many of the lots would be contiguous,” Moore said. “The hope is that potential buyers would be more interested because of the possibility of combining lots to make them more developable.”

Registration of bidders in the March auction begins an hour before the auction starts and ends promptly at auction time. Bidders must be registered to participate and must be at the auction in person.

Agents are allowed to bid on behalf of others but must provide documented proof that they are a bona fide agent. Only in-person bids will be accepted.

Successful bidders are required to make payment in full prior to the conclusion of the auction. Payment can be made by money order, certified check, cash, cashier’s check or a personal or business check if accompanied by a bank letter of credit guaranteeing funds are available in the amount of or in excess of the bid.

Properties in the legal ad have what’s called a “simple description” of their location, typically the street they are located on or near, but no numerical address. To find the precise location of a property in the auction, visit the Valencia County website — — and under “Our County” click on “Assessor” under “Elected Officials.”

From there, click on “Assessor Parcel Map” on the left side of the page. A GIS map of the county will load and in the upper right hand corner of the page is a search bar. Type in the account number of a parcel, which begins with an “R” followed by six numbers, hit the enter key and the system will locate the parcel.

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Julia M. Dendinger began working at the VCNB in 2006. She covers Valencia County government, Belen Consolidated Schools and the village of Bosque Farms. She is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists Rio Grande chapter’s board of directors.