Cook County Treasurer Changes to Scavenger Tax Sale are Not Enough

The 2022 Cook County Scavenger Tax Sale will have some administrative changes but they do not go far enough. Read more here (courtesy of Chicago Tribune).


The primary problem is that properties in certain neighborhoods are so over-assessed that no one bids on them at the annual sale (one year of taxes offered for sale) and even scavenger sale bidders (bidding on 3 or more years of delinquencies) realize it is not worth proceeding to deed when they have to pay all of the subsequent years' taxes in full. One possible solution is to change the requirement for payment of subsequent years' taxes in full (for non-governmental tax buyers) and/or shortening the redemption period for scavenger sales on certain categories of properties. This would make it both cheaper and quicker to get these properties back on the tax rolls and benefit the municipalities and surrounding neighborhoods.


Another option is to disband the Cook County Land Bank Authority. Per the Tribune article:


"The Land Bank returned more than half of the properties it bid on in the 2015 and 2017 auctions, according to the treasurer’s report. Pappas brought the process to the attention of Toni Preckwinkle, president of the Cook County Board of Commissioners, citing the Land Bank’s practice as 'counterproductive.'"

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