SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — If you could buy the street in front of your house for Christmas, what would you do with it?
People in one Sacramento neighborhood are asking this odd question after a mailing address mixup. Unpaid property taxes led to a public auction announcement that was never supposed to happen.
“We all thought this was a city street because there’s city dumpsters and everything,” said Mark Duchesne, who was surprised to hear the street he lives on is up for sale.
More than 30 homes line Brunnet Lane in Sacramento’s Natomas neighborhood and it has a green sign just like any other street in the city.
“How could the street be for sale? I’ll buy this street,” Duchesne said.
County records show Brunnet Lane is actually privately owned by the Riverdale North Community Association and they’ve only paid their annual property tax bill once in the last six years.
“I’ve never thought of a street being owned by anybody,” said Michelle Hubbard, also a resident of Brunnet Lane.
So what happens if property tax is not paid? The county can seize the property and put it up for auction.
“The tax sale is really sort of a last resort. This is if the homeowner has not paid their property taxes for the last five years,” said Kim Nava, a spokesperson for Sacramento County.
Last week, county leaders voted to sell Brunnet Lane at auction in February. It’s one of 148 parcels with overdue tax bills. Most are residential or commercial lots, but this one stands out and literally anyone would be able to buy it
“People ask me what happens…we don’t really know because we haven’t had a street for sale in some time so it’s a very unusual case,” Nava said.
Nava said the tax collector makes repeated efforts to notify the owner before a property is auctioned off.
CBS13 reached out to the homeowners association which they said they had no idea property taxes were not being paid and said the annual bills were being sent to the wrong address.
The annual tax is not that big — less than $12 — but with penalties and late fees that have now ballooned, the minimum bid is 900 dollars. The county uses that to recoup their costs.
“Oh, I’ll bid $900 for this street, yes,” Duchesne said.
The county said there’s still time for the homeowners association to keep the street, but if the bill remains unpaid, it could be going once, going twice, sold to the highest bidder.