Charleston County delinquent tax sale to begin at 9 a.m.

An overflow crowd packed into Charleston County Council Chambers for last year’s delinquent tax sale.

One of the most interesting and popular government-run real estate bazaars takes place Monday, when Charleston County holds its annual delinquent tax sale.

The bidding starts at 9 a.m. sharp in Council Chambers in the Lonnie Hamilton III Public Services Building at 4045 Bridge View Drive in North Charleston.

Real estate of all stripes will be up for grabs first, with mobile homes to follow, in alphabetical order according to the owner’s last name or business name. The sale will continue at 9 a.m. Tuesday if necessary.

Dozens of investors usually show up clutching their lists at the annual event, which as of Friday was projected to feature about 1,000 pieces of real estate and 140 mobile homes.

Typically, most of the properties that go on the block each year never actually change hands in a legal sense. That’s because the owners have another 12 months to pay their delinquent tax bills, along with hefty financial penalties.

The main attraction for the bidders is the interest they can earn on their money. The rate of return depends on how long the real estate goes unclaimed. It ranges from 3 percent for the first three months to 12 percent for last three months, according to the county’s website.

It’s too late for owners with properties on the lists — they’re in spreadsheets at charlestoncounty.org under the large delinquent tax sale banner — to have them removed. The deadline for paying the Treasurer’s Office was Friday afternoon.

South Carolina has a history of taking its lumps in national rankings, hence the frequent proclaim: “Thank God for Mississippi.” But when it comes to manure, few places pile it on better than the Palmetto State.

South Carolina ranks No. 10 nationally for growth in the number of acres of farmland fertilized with manure between 2007 and 2012, according to an agricultural census conducted every five years by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The state’s 3.9 percent growth in the use of nature’s fertilizer topped Kansas (3.4 percent) and trailed Tennessee (6 percent). Louisiana led the nation, with a hip-wader-worthy growth of 44.5 percent.

According to the data, there were 3,115 S.C. farms spreading dung on 264,113 acres in 2012, the latest numbers available. Among the biggest trends in farm excrement is the growing use of poultry poop instead of factory-made guano to fertilize property, according to LawnStarter, a Texas-based lawn care service that compiled the doody data. That’s because chicken ca-ca is cheap — about $30 per ton compared to commercial fertilizer’s $200 to $600 price tag per ton.

Each year, farm animals in the U.S. generate more than 670 billion pounds of manure, says LawnStarter’s statistics. To put that in perspective, that’s nearly the weight of 4,761 Carnival Fantasy cruise ships.

The shipping line that once threatened to leave Charleston over a 2008 labor dispute remains the region’s top ocean carrier, according to statistics released last week by the State Ports Authority.

Maersk Line accounted for 22.1 percent of all shipping containers that crossed the SPA’s terminals in fiscal 2015, which ended June 30. That’s a 14 percent increase in the line’s cargo shipments through Charleston the previous year.

Cargo boxes in this case refers to 20-foot-long metal containers.

Mediterranean Shipping Co. was No. 2 in marketshare, accounting for 16 percent of the port’s cargo in fiscal 2015, followed by Hapag-Lloyd, with 8.7 percent.

Over the past 26 years, the Port of Charleston has retained all of its top 10 steamship line customers. That includes Maersk, which has been calling on the port since at least 1953.