Unpaid rates of $5688 have been written off by Greater Hume Council on a Culcairn block of land that attracted a $100 bid at auction, but later sold for $20,000.
The small, vacant block on Wattle Street was the subject of $21,306 in outstanding rates, water and debt collection charges, when it was put up at auction by council in November.
The property failed to sell, passing in at auction for $100.
It was then placed on the open market and sold for $20,000, however the selling costs combined with the outstanding rates and charges meant council could not recover the entire $25,688 owed.
The council has now written off what was still outstanding, with Cr Lea Parker questioning why it attracted a bid of only $100 at auction.
"It is a bit surprising that it only got a bid for $100, but it's an unusual block in that the building area on it is quite small and it falls away quite quickly to the Billabong Creek," general manager Steven Pinnuck replied.
"Wattle Street is the most southern street in Culcairn, running along the Billabong Creek on the eastern side of the railway line.
"I would have thought the sale price that we've achieved (of $20,000) is probably more in line with its value."
Asked how long rates had not been paid on the block, Mr Pinnuck said the property had sold for unpaid rates before.
"To have a sale of land for unpaid rates, you've got to have unpaid rates for a period of five years, or for lowly-valued land, until such time as the rates outstanding are higher than the valuation - that's the two clauses under the current act," he said.
"We try to have a sale of land for unpaid rates about every second year when we have got sufficient properties to make it worthwhile, maybe very second or third year.
"I would say that in this particular case, the rates would have been outstanding for five or six years."
Local Government Act 1993, states that land that fails to sell at public auction may be sold by private treaty.
According to an online Domain property report, the property has sold under private treaty seven times since 1991, including in 2012, and attracting just under $20,000 in 2009 and $150,000 in 2005.
Former councillor and neighbour Stan Scheetz could recall three times it had been put up for sale because of unpaid rates in eight years.
He believed its proximity to the river and risk of flooding restrained its use.
IN OTHER NEWS:
"You can't put much on this," he said.
"The last flood, what happened there, was within three quarters of an hour it had started to rise, and all of a sudden it was up here (past road level).
"The say it was a one in 100 years flood. I've seen three floods before this, and I'm not 100."
The block has been described as unique, presenting opportunities for a low-cost build.