On October 21, 2013, the Stark County Political Report did a blog on the battle between the Canton City School District and a company by the name of Amerimar with respect to a fight between the two over who is going pay real property tax on Canton's major office building complex; namely, The Huntington Bank (Huntington).
The Amerimar/Canton City Schools battle is a microcosm of the on going battle between Stark County "individual" property owners and taxpayers "in general" as to who is going to foot the bill for funding Stark County's schools.
In March, 2013 the Canton City Schools (CCS) filed a complaint on the valuation/tax appraisal by the Stark County Auditor's office on Huntington.
Accordingly, the Stark County Board of Revision (a division of the Stark County auditor's office) sent notices (three in all) to Amerimar notifying the company of the CCS complaints.
In preparing the October 21 blog, the SCPR put together this estimated analysis of the taxes stake.
In November, 2013 the Board of Revision sided with the CCS and send Amerimar this notice: (again, one of three notices)
Consequently, on December 16, 2013, this:
So the battle is on in the courts as to whom will pay the taxes that the Board of Revision is saying is owing for Real Property Tax Year 2012 and, of course, ensuing tax years.
While this case is only one case, the SCPR thinks it is emblematic of the rather large overall fight between individual property owners and Stark County school districts over whether the county assessed tax bill is to be borne by the "individual" property owner or spread out over "all" taxpayers in a given school district.
And most real property taxes are for schools.
Witness this SCPR extract from a rate schedule published by Stark County treasurer Alex Zumbar.
The Report has embarked on an investigation of the factors that the Stark County taxpaying public should focus upon in coming to an opinion on how the Board of Revision functions and whether or not a proper balance is struck between individual property owners and the county's school districts.
While the SCPR will fan out to cover nearly every one of the 17 school districts that seem to be involved in the process of challenging individual real property valuations for real property tax purposes, the main focus will be on the Amerimar/CCS legal fight.
As this blog is written, each side has written a brief.
In ensuing blogs the SCPR will touch on the keystone legal issues that the court will decide and bring other battles (including videotapes of proceedings) taking place at the Board of Revision level.
One thing that is readily apparently is that the Stark County auditor's office Board of Revision is doing an exceptional job in processing valuation of complaints.
Do not look for a headline like this one to be appearing in Stark County media:
And a sampling of school districts and the costs absorbed. (LINK to entire list)
Using the Amerimar/CCS case as an example, the Stark County auditor's office came to a decision in the case within an eight-month timeframe.
Given the number of complaints filed and other work handled by the Stark County Board of Revision, the SCPR thinks an eight month administrative process is quite acceptable.
Each week from here on out, The Report will be reporting/analyzing on the particulars of the Amerimar/CCS case and on the many other cases pending before the Board of Revision.
After all, YOUR TAX DOLLARS are at stake!