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County to seek tax deed for Splash Universe

LaGrange County Commissioners voted to move ahead with a plan to seek a tax deed to the property where Splash Universe in Shipshewana is located. The property failed to sell at the county tax sale held Oct. 6. A total of $888,074.04 was advertised as the unpaid real estate taxes at the time of the tax sale.

In addition, the county will also move ahead with enforcing a lien of over $93,000 in back personal property taxes owed by the same business group.

The commissioners voted unanimously Monday morning to follow the recommendation from a joint meeting of the county council and commissioners held last week on this issue. Councilman Fred Brown was present at the commissioners meeting and spoke against using Rainy Day funds to pay attorney fees.

Commissioners authorized County Attorney Kurt Bachman to move ahead with the two items of litigation. The county will petition the LaGrange Circuit Court to issue a tax deed on the property involved.

Attorney Bachman noted that the county has 90 days from the date of the tax sale to give notice to a property owner that the county intends to seek a tax deed certificate. Following the notice there is a 120-day period of time (which starts from the tax sale date) to actually file the petition in court.

There were other options available, which included doing nothing or allowing the property to roll over to the next tax sale.

Commissioners also asked that other properties which have delinquent taxes be sought out and any that have potential for economic development be identified. “We know that there are ‘Brownfield Funds’ available and we need to partner-up with the towns in the county to take advantage of any opportunities that are available,” said Commission Chairman George Bachman.