County did right thing in voiding property sale
Tulare County supervisors Tuesday did the correct thing in rescinding the sale of city property that was sold by mistake.
What the county failed to do was to take any steps that such a mistake will never happen in the future. There were a lot of reasons given and it appears there are a lot of people from the county to the city of Porterville who failed to catch the mistake, but nothing said how it will be prevented in the future.
However, the bottom line is the property is owned by the city of Porterville and should remain in the city’s possession no matter the mistake. The county should only refund what the original buyer paid for the property.
Due to a series of mistakes, the small piece of land on East Orange Avenue in Porterville was put on the delinquent tax list and put up for auction by the county. Because the assessor’s office did not notify the tax collector back in 2005 that the land had been sold to the city, and thus tax exempt, the tax collector kept sending a property tax bill to the former owner, who ignored those bills since they no longer owned the property.
Last year, the land was offered in an online delinquent property tax auction. It was purchased by a Porterville City Council member who has purchased property that way in the past, but the land was purchased for a friend of that council member.
When the city became aware of the mix-up, it informed the county that it still wanted the property and asked supervisors to rescind the sale, which the board did last week.
It is unfortunate for the buyer to lose the property, but no improvements have been made and even though the land has since been sold to another person, if all money is returned there should not be a great inconvenience for any of the parties involved.