MILLER, P. J., ANDREWS and BROWN, JJ.
MILLER, PRESIDING JUDGE.
appeal stems from a tax sale between Paulding County and
Derby Properties, LLC, in which Derby Properties purchased
certain real property that was subject to a nuisance
abatement lien. Derby Properties appeals from the trial
court's denial of its motion for summary judgment against
J. W. "Bill" Watson III, in his official capacity
as the Tax Commissioner of Paulding County ("the
County"). On appeal, Derby Properties contends that the
sale was conducted improperly because the County utilized a
nonjudicial tax foreclosure sale, instead of a judicial in
rem tax foreclosure sale. We determine that OCGA §
41-2-9 (the "nuisance abatement statute") did not
prevent the County from conducting a nonjudicial tax
foreclosure sale in this case. Therefore, we affirm.
When ruling on a motion for summary judgment, the opposing
party must be given the benefit of all reasonable doubt, and
the court should construe the evidence and all inferences and
conclusions therefrom most favorably toward the party
opposing the motion. When reviewing the grant or denial of a
motion for summary judgment, this court conducts a de novo
review of the law and the evidence.
(Citation and footnote omitted.) H & C Dev., Inc. v.
Bershader, 248 Ga.App. 546, 547 (546 S.E.2d 907) (2001).
viewed, the record shows that, after a nuisance abatement
was placed on the subject property, the County sold the
property to Derby Properties in a nonjudicial tax foreclosure
sale in October 2015. Subsequently, however, Derby Properties
asked the County to return the money it had paid for the
property. Derby Properties claimed that the tax sale the
County had used to enforce the nuisance abatement lien was
illegal because the County had utilized the nonjudicial tax
foreclosure procedures set forth in OCGA § 48-4-1,
instead of the judicial in rem tax foreclosure procedures, as
outlined in OCGA § 48-4-76 et seq. When the County
refused to return the money, Derby Properties filed a
petition under OCGA § 15-13-3 (the "money rule
petition"), in the Superior Court of Paulding County,
again challenging the legality of the sale on this same
basis. Both Derby Properties and the County filed motions for
summary judgment. The County argued, in part, that the
nuisance abatement statute did not require the County to use
a judicial in rem tax foreclosure sale to enforce the lien.
The trial court awarded summary judgment in the County's
favor and denied Derby Properties' summary judgment
motion. This appeal followed.
Derby Properties claims that the nuisance abatement statute
required the County to use the judicial in rem tax
foreclosure process, and that the County's use of
nonjudicial tax foreclosure procedures renders the sale
unlawful. This contention lacks merit.
interpretation of statutes presents a question of law for the
court." (Citations, punctuation, and footnote omitted.)
Montgomery County v. Hamilton, 337 Ga.App. 500, 503
(788 S.E.2d 89) (2016). "The first step in our analysis
of this issue of statutory construction is to examine the
plain statutory language." (Citation omitted.)
Morrison v. Claborn, 294 Ga.App. 508, 512 (2) (669
S.E.2d 492) (2008).
The nuisance abatement statute provides, in part,
It shall be the duty of the appropriate county tax
commissioner or municipal tax collector or city revenue
officer, who is responsible or whose duties include the
collection of municipal taxes, to collect the amount of the
lien using all methods available for collecting real
property ad valorem taxes, including specifically Chapter 4
of Title 48.
(Emphasis supplied.) OCGA § 41-2-9 (b) (2).
methods available for collecting real property ad valorem
taxes include both judicial in rem tax foreclosure
sales (OCGA § 48-4-76 (a) - (b)) and nonjudicial tax
foreclosure sales (OCGA § 48-4-1 (a) (1) (A)). See
DLT List, LLC v. M7VEN Supportive Housing & Dev.
Group, 335 Ga.App. 318, 321 (1) (779 S.E.2d 436) (2015),
aff'd, DLT List, LLC v. M7VEN Supportive Housing
& Dev. Group, 301 Ga. 131 (800 S.E.2d 362) (2017)
("Pursuant to OCGA § 48-4-1, if a property owner
fails to pay county property taxes, the county may issue a
writ of fieri facias and conduct a sale of the property to
satisfy the unpaid taxes."). Thus, a plain reading of
this subsection of the nuisance abatement statute evinces
that the County would have been entitled to collect the
amount of the lien using either type of sale.
the legislature expressly intended that judicial in rem tax
foreclosure procedures be an alternative to
nonjudicial tax foreclosure procedures, rather than replace
them. The legislature made this intent abundantly clear in
OCGA § 48-4-75, which reads:
The General Assembly finds that . . . nonjudicial tax
foreclosure procedures are inefficient, lengthy, and commonly
result in title to real property which is neither marketable
nor insurable. . . . Consequently, the General Assembly
further finds that the alternative to nonjudicial
tax foreclosure procedures authorized by this article is an
effective means of eliminating health and safety ...