MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (WBOY) — The annual auditor’s tax sale was held at the Monongalia County Courthouse Thursday morning.

The event gives those interested in bringing properties back to life a chance to bid. However, the property tax sale process has undergone some changes this year due to Senate Bill (SB) 552.

Now, the past property owners will have a year to redeem their property from whoever bought it if the current owner failed to pay their property taxes, and for the first time ever, a payment plan of up to three payments can be created to help people who may have had a hard time paying their taxes.

The change was made with the intent to give people the chance to get back into their homes.

West Virginia State Auditor JB McCuskey mentioned that they use this to help people that want to help give back to society by fixing the properties up for new housing or businesses. He had said that the SB 552 takes one of the “full sales away,” as well as shortening the three-year process to one year. This is important because everyone sees the dilapidated properties that lower property values, and with the passing of this bill, it makes it easier to sell the property and fund a demolition program to start tearing houses down.

McCuskey said houses are already coming down in communities around the state such as Bluefield, Clarksburg, St. Albans and Nitro.

“We’ve invited the world to move to West Virginia, right?” McCuskey said. “And we have ribbon cutting after ribbon cutting, and there’s new businesses coming. And we’re inviting new mountaineers to be our neighbors. I think it’s incumbent upon all of us to clean up our communities and towns and make them shine. How like we know that they should so that people feel welcome as they move in.”

McCuskey said the yearly sale helps tax revenue support services like schools, local governments and police officers; and as economic development corporations start asking what the communities need, auditors can begin figuring out what properties could potentially serve as, when and if certain things are needed.

There were a few sales made on Thursday, but there are still some properties that are left up for bids. If interested, you can find more information here.