Brian Massie, Citizen Journalist
During last week’s Commissioners’ meeting, we heard that the management company of the Great Lakes Mall is challenging the valuation of their property and hoping for a reduction in their property taxes. According, to Assistant Prosecutor Michael DeLeone, they are looking to save millions in property taxes.
We asked Auditor Chris Galloway to confirm that if the Great Lake Mall management company is successful in getting their property valuation reduced, will the burden of the lost property taxes be shifted to the residential taxpayers?
Here is Auditor Galloway’s reply:
To answer your question on the Mall, the answer is YES. Every year as part of equalization, anything that is made exempt or reduced in value, the share of the levies must be equalized to the remaining taxable owners. So if the Mall is reduced that is spread to everyone else – residential and commercial.
As you know, we are going to fight this out in Texas.
It’s the same reason I (and Ed [Zupancic] before me) fight First Energy’s efforts to reduce values on the power plants. Using Eastlake as an example, if FE was able to successfully argue and reduce the value to their desired $7.5m, the rest of the county (and especially those in the W-E School District) would pick up the tax slack, so to speak. What makes it all the more absurd is that FE is reimbursed by PMJ, the grid operator. PMJ reimburses FE for any property taxes they pay on the Eastlake facility. Meaning, every single rate payer in the 13 states and DC shares in that cost.
If you figure the number of accounts in that territory, it probably comes out to a penny a rate payer (or less). Everyone shares in the cost of the property taxes on a correctly valued facility that is critically essential to grid operation. (The regional grid would collapse without the Eastlake synchronized condensers). If FE has their way, the value is reduced and that additional tax burden is shifted to Lake County residents, businesses, seniors, etc. So we fight it, not just for the taxes owed, but the fairness to our residents.
LFC would like to thank Auditor Galloway for his transparency with the Lake County citizens.
Categories: Lake County - General