The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

Features

February 18, 2013

Group hosting dinner to save building ownership

CLINTON — A Clinton community center building could be in jeopardy because of past due taxes.

Dina White, from the Vinson H. Jetter Community Center, said she was excited a few months ago when the community center had been granted tax-exempt status.

Then she received a letter from the county informing her that the tax certificate for their youth center building at  311 S. Third St., had been sold at a tax sale because of past-due taxes.

The property at 311 S. Third St. is one of the oldest churches in town, according to Gary Herrity, local historian. The building was built in 1858 at 620 S. Fourth St. as the original First Baptist Church.

“This was just a quickly built little wood frame temporary church,” Herrity said.

The building was moved to its present location in 1869 and was the home for a succession of many denominations of churches. Herrity said everybody used the church for a little time until they established themselves.

White said she was unaware that the building was accruing property taxes while they were waiting for the tax-exempt status and claimed that due to a mix up, they had not received the previous notices. Clinton County Treasurer Rhonda McIntyre confirmed that the tax certificate was sold in June 2011 at a tax sale.

Iowa allows investors to purchase unpaid taxes during a sale held the third Monday of June. The purpose of this sale is to collect unpaid taxes. Once an investor purchases an unpaid tax, he or she must pay the subsequent taxes. These are then added, along with two percent interest per month, to the certificate.

An investor cannot begin procedures to obtain the deed to the property until one year and nine months has passed from the time of the tax sale. These procedures will be available for the community center’s property on March 20.

Steve Sodeman, of Davenport, invests in many tax sales and purchased the tax certificate for the community center building. He said he is not out to take anyone’s property. He is just trying to do what the law is set up for: to pay the taxes so that money goes where it needs to.  White said the center, which has $1,700, is working to raise the money to redeem the tax certificate. The current amount needed is $3,092.

The center will hold a soul food dinner from 4 to 7 p.m. Feb. 22 at First United Methodist Church to raise funds. Call White at 212-6775 for tickets.

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