Delinquent taxpayers owe total of $18M to Marion County

The LaQuinta Inn and Suites, 401 E. Washington Street, owned by Ram Lodging owes $133,741.

The vast majority of Marion County property owners pay their property tax bills. Those who don't will soon find their homes or businesses on the auction block.

The county's annual tax sale is October 4th and 5th.

According to the Marion County Auditor's Office, as of noon Friday, 3,363 properties were eligible for the tax sale. Those properties owed a combined $17.8 million in back taxes.

Eyewitness News checked to see who owed the most. Here were the top four:

The LaQuinta Inn and Suites, 401 E. Washington Street, owned by Ram Lodging owes $133,741.

A strip mall at 5990 E. 71st St., owned by Lakewood Shops LLC owes $146,195.

An apartment complex at 7171 E. Twin Oaks Drive, owned by Kingston Square Homes owes $491,372.

The property owing the most? The old RCA plant at 600 N. Sherman Drive. Now owned by SP Investments H LLC, the outstanding tax bill is $1,473,292.

Eyewitness News tried and was unable to reach SP Investments or any of the other property owners.

Part of the old plant is currently being demolished. For decades the sight was one of the city's biggest employers, providing jobs for thousands of people. It closed in the mid-1980s with parts of used by other companies.

Most recently a small portion of the site was used for recycling.

Susan McGinley just bought a house across the street. Told of the back taxes she said, "Wow, that's lot of area for back taxes. That's sad."

McGinley knows the old plant well. She said she was hired in 1978 and worked the press floor until 1982 when the plant began moving its operations.

Seeing it every day, she said, "It's depressing, very depressing to see a building like that just sitting there wasting."

Randy Denton who lives a block away for more than 30 years, can see the top of the plant from his front porch.

"If it's not taken care of, it's an eyesore. The parking lot is getting dirty and you've got strange vehicles parking in there all the time and you don't know what they're there for," said Denton.

Denton said it has an impact on the entire neighborhood. So do the vacant houses.

According to the auditor's office, Denton's area, which encompasses the 46201 zip code, has the second highest number of delinquent properties in the county. As of Friday it was 409. Many are boarded up and deteriorating. They're unlikely to bought in the tax sale, and the same goes for the old plant property.

Thinking about the lost tax revenue, McGinley just shook her head and said, "A million and a half in back taxes with the city hurting the way it is?"

Denton agreed that money could be put to good use.

"The biggest complaint around here is people want more police patrols," he said. "Those taxes would help as far as police safety."

While numerous government entities rely on property tax revenue, Eyewitness News asked city officials would they could do with an extra $1.5 million.

The mayor's office said they could hire roughly 15 police office. Indy Parks said they could build 50 new outdoor basketball courts and public works said they could buy 12 new fully-equipped snow removal trucks.

The list of delinquent properties will continue to decrease as people pay up prior to the tax sale. Other tax revenue will be collected when a property sells at auction.

But even after, the county will still have several million in unpaid bills.

According to the auditor, after last year's tax sale, 42% or approximately $3.7 million in taxes were still owed.

As for the old RCA plant, if no one buys it, the city will take ownership and according to mayoral spokesman Marc Lotter "explore redevelopment opportunities."

 Tax sale