County deeds land to Hartland

Published 12:00 am Friday, June 9, 2006

By Kari Lucin, staff writer

HARTLAND &045; Freeborn County gave three lots seized in tax forfeitures to the city of Hartland to be used in an ongoing city beautification project Tuesday.

The lots, along with nine pieces of property in the county, were authorized for sale Tuesday at the Freeborn County Board meeting.

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Hartland will not have to pay for the .198 acres.

When a pubic entity like a city or township requests to use land from a tax forfeiture, the back taxes are forgiven for the good of the public, said County Administrator Ron Gabrielsen. Then the land can simply be given to the entity that requested it.

&8220;We have two city parks right now, and we just did a big tree grant this spring for the one park,&8221; said Hartland City Clerk Penny Bell. &8220;We’re trying to make sections of the town where it’s just idle into little parks, flowered areas with benches for people to sit on.&8221;

The other nine parcels of land the county took will be auctioned off in public sale, and starting prices for all the properties but one range from $50 to $500. The ninth property, in the city of Albert Lea at 1906 W. Main St., will start at $10,000.

Three of the less expensive properties have Albert Lea addresses; three are in Myrtle, one is in Emmons, and one is in Freeborn.

No property taxes have been paid for any of the land for five years.

&8220;Every effort is made to track down the last legal owner to notify them that their taxes are delinquent,&8221; Gabrielsen said.

Payment of taxes can become delinquent for a variety of reasons, aside from owners simply not paying them. If property owners die without a will or a next of kin, the land may sit vacant with no taxes being paid for it for a period of time. Property owners can also go bankrupt, or leave and forget about their property.

&8220;Hartland feels they can use it for community development for a park,&8221; Gabrielsen said.