2010-03-25 / Local & State

Mountain View House Tax Appeal Denied

Letter sent to judge regarding 2010 county audit
By Chanin Rotz-Mountz STAFF WRITER

As part of the county Tax Appeals Board, the Fulton County commissioners opted to deny a tax appeal this week concerning Mountain View House, a Housing and Urban Development (HUD) property.

Located along Lions Park Drive in McConnellsburg, Mountain View House offers housing to low-income, elderly residents through a total of 17 units.

The facility, according to county tax records, was initially placed on the county tax rolls during the year 2006 as tax exempt. In October 2009 the property was placed on the list as a taxable property with an assessed value of $433,160. The new assessment is slated to generate real estate income on several different levels, including $11,196.10 for the Central Fulton School District; $4,331.60 for Fulton County; and $216.58 for Todd Township.

At the time of the initial appeal on February 23, the commissioners learned from Homes For America Chief Asset Manager Doug Smith and Bert Hahn, assistant manager, the building should be considered as having zero value on the sales market due to deed restrictions that require the building to serve the public for a period of 35 years. As a result, Smith and Hahn requested the facility be returned to tax-exempt status or at the very minimum have the county accept a payment in lieu of taxes (PILOT).

In a newly penned letter to the commissioners, county solicitor Stanley Kerlin stated that following the tax appeal hearing, he did not receive the company’s annual budget as promised. Kerlin also cited various case law and noted the 202 program is supplemented by HUD. Therefore, taxes should be incorporated into the company’s annual budget as a cost of operations to be reimbursed by the federal government.

In following Kerlin’s recommendation, commissioners Bonnie Mellott Keefer and David Hoover II unanimously agreed to deny the appeal, thereby leaving the property on the county’s list of taxable properties.

The commissioners also reviewed a letter to be sent to President Judge Douglas Herman of the Fulton/Franklin County Court of Common Pleas from county auditors Phyllis Bard, Rebecca Kendall and Kimberley Seiders. The trio of auditors noted in the letter that the county has taken steps to computerize many documents and have changed their accounting system to an accrual method. As a result, the county’s books would not be closed until June 30 instead of April 1. Due to the later closing date, the auditors requested a time extension to November 30 to complete and submit the necessary Department of Community and Economic Development report.

The commissioners reviewed a snowplowing bill submitted to the county by Larry Shoemaker for the removal of snow at the office of Magisterial District Judge Carol Jean Johnson.

A 20-day extension was granted to Rockwell Construction and Stouffer Mechanical Contractors for the completion of construction work associated with phase one of the renovation project.

A proposal submitted to the county by Triangle Fire Protection was approved by the commissioners for the repair of the courthouse sprinkler system. The repairs have been calculated at $1,330.

County projects coordinator Karen Hann shared with the commissioners that she will be obtaining proposals for engineering services in conjunction with the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program. On the heels of the announcement, the group also reviewed handicapped accessibility concerns at 122 West Market Street as well as various projects ranging from the Route 16 turning lane project in front of JLG Industries to handicapped parking at the Fulton County Food Basket.

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