The Smith County Communications Office strives to promote transparency by providing the public with the most accurate, accessible and up-to-date information possible while promoting the county's brand and message of "Striving for Excellence."
Located on the first floor of the Smith County Annex Building
200 E. Ferguson, Suite 100
Tyler, Texas 75702
Email: Casey Murphy
Smith County Tax Foreclosure Auctions
When people are faced with losing their property for not paying taxes, Smith County Sheriff’s Deputy Tina Glover tries to make the best of an unpleasant situation.
Deputy Glover investigates all delinquent property tax cases in Smith County and last year, she sold more than 80 properties at tax foreclosure sales.
Deputy Glover has been holding the auctions nearly every month since 2007, and has seen an increase in interest since then. About 20 buyers usually attend the auctions to buy tiny lots or several acres of land in Tyler, Lindale, Chapel Hill, Arp or other areas of Smith County. The next tax foreclosure auction will be held on the front steps of the Smith County Courthouse, 100 N. Broadway Ave., at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, June 4.
“My job is to enforce the court orders,” she said. “I investigate people’s personal properties and their backgrounds and follow the rules of civil procedure when it comes to removal of that person’s property.”
Local tax attorneys work in conjunction with the Smith County Tax Office to identify people who are delinquent on property taxes. Deputy Glover serves the defendants and any heirs notices of the delinquent taxes to give them an opportunity to pay the taxes. If they do not pay what is due, the case can be taken to court.
“They are not in the business of taking people’s property,” she said of the courts. “We want someone to step up and take care of it – taxes have to be paid.”
A Justice of the Peace, County Court-at-Law or District Judge can give the order for the county to take the property and have it auctioned off.
“I try to make the best of an unpleasant situation,” she said. “I try to make it a more understandable process to the person.”
Deputy Glover went to work for the Smith County Sheriff’s Office as a jailer in 2000. She moved up to transporting inmates before joining the patrol division in 2003. In 2007, she began working civil and criminal cases. Now, her main duty is civil process, working with the district and county courts and clerks, as well as tax attorneys. She serves court orders stemming from civil lawsuits, people who are delinquent on property taxes or who put up property as collateral, and the removal of children through family court orders.
“I like the civil process,” she said. “The process works, as long as you don’t ignore it.”
Deputy Glover said people cannot ignore her knock on the door. When she gives them notice of nonpayment of property taxes, she always does it in person. Ignoring her will end in default judgment and a lien on their house, or their property sold at auction.
Sometimes the tax foreclosure cases can drag out because a defendant or heir will say they intend to pay the taxes. That starts the process over for Deputy Glover. But eventually, if not paid, the case will go to court and the property ordered to auction.
Once they are up for auction, the properties are posted in advance on the first floor of the Smith County Courthouse, as well as advertised in the local newspaper. The property owner can pay off the taxes to keep their property, up until the start of the auction. They occur on the Smith County Courthouse steps at 10 a.m. on the first Tuesday of nearly every month (there is no auction in July or January).
When wanting to buy a delinquent property at auction, Deputy Glover said it is important for the buyer to first do their research on the property and its value, as well as have a budget in mind. Deputy Glover can provide them with a description of the property but she does not assist with property values. All properties are sold as-is, without warranty.
When asked what she likes about working in the civil division of the Sheriff’s Office, Deputy Glover said, “Most of the time I’m dealing with civilized people … They’re not always happy to see me, but I’ve always considered myself a respectful, pleasant person.”
She said people can sometimes simply forget to pay on an account and she understands that.
“I am just trying to keep the process going as diligently, fair and just as I can,” Deputy Glover said.
She also teaches civil process to fellow law enforcement personnel and has been doing so since 2011. On Wednesday, she was teaching an annual class, and had students from Tyler and Smith County, as well as Nacogdoches, Center and Waller. She also teaches an 8-hour civil process class twice a year to new police academy cadets.
“I teach because it gives me the opportunity to learn,” she said. “I learn when I teach.”
What: Smith County Tax Foreclosure Auction
When: 10 a.m. Tuesday, June 4, 2019
Where: Front Steps of the Smith County Courthouse, 100 N. Broadway Ave.