Pope County Supervisor of Assessments Maureen Stafford has recently learned a company named Land REI, LLC has sent letters and purchase agreements to many Pope County residents. According to Stafford, the letter states they want to purchase property and the purchase agreement has a monetary offer.

"Many residents have called the assessor's office because the letter states the information for their property was obtained from the assessor, and it also states they will pay all back taxes, which has many residents concerned their taxes are in arrears. I would like to clear this up and hopefully ensure no one sells their property for an amount that is far below fair market value," said Stafford.

Stafford points out, first, all property records in the assessor's office are public record. "This means anyone can come in and look at parcel information, including contact information, tax information -- whether delinquent or timely -- and acreage amounts for any parcel in the county. Frequently companies call and request entire tax roll data, which the assessor is required by statute to provide. Land REI, LLC has not requested tax roll data unless they requested under a different name. They may have even purchased the data from another company that has the data. All of that is out of the assessor's control," said Stafford.

Second, Stafford says the solicitation letter is worded in such a way that many taxpayers believe their taxes may be delinquent. Stafford says the Pope County Treasurer's Office will always make every effort possible to ensure if taxes are delinquent, property owners will be notifiedby the office.

Lastly, Stafford urges property owners to do their research as to property values in their area and consult an attorney before you sign any purchase agreement for your property.

Anyone with questions, may call Stafford, Pope County assessor at 618-683-6231 or Shelley Friend, Pope County treasurer at 618-683-5501.

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