County to negotiate tax dispute

Boone County Commissioners on Monday authorized County Attorney John Morgan to negotiate with attorneys for GGP, LLC, in a dispute over back property taxes for a hog confinement operation in Boone County.
Commissioners had received a letter last week from Rembolt Ludtke, LLC, attorneys for GGP and Jim Pillen, in a dispute of a county notice on back taxes for two large hog confinement buildings located southeast of Cedar Rapids.
The county had issued the original conditional use permit for the confinement buildings in 2002, but the buildings were apparently not constructed until 2005 by then-owner Wolbach Foods Partnership.
Although a conditional use permit had been issued, no record can be found of a building permit being applied for or issued for these hog facilities.
Since 2005, the county has issued tax statements only for the land and not for the improvements. The property was acquired by GGP, LLC, in 2008. Assessor Joyce Sock said she sent a letter to GGP, LLC, in 2008 requesting specifications for the buildings to be added as improvements, but she did not receive a response.
To correct the error, Sock made a tax correction in March of 2012 to add the improvements to the land value for the 2008 tax year and subsequent tax years, and tax statements totaling $216,157 had been sent to GGP, according to County Treasurer Laurie Krohn.
Attorneys for GGP are disputing the back taxes, saying the county did not provide proper notification to the property owner.
Commissioners said it appears that procedural errors were made by both the county and the property owners in this case, but said they felt the county should receive the taxes on the improvements dating back to 2008.

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