County auditor: Biomass delinquent on taxes

Published 12:00 am Sunday, June 22, 2003

SOUTH POINT - Worries over security and delinquent taxes have county officials concerned about Biomass.

The saga of Biomass Energy was the subject of an executive session earlier this week between the Lawrence County Commission and Assistant Lawrence County Prosecutor Jeff Smith.

The commission asked to meet with a representative of the prosecutor's office to discuss their concerns about security at that site.

Email newsletter signup

County Commissioner Jason Stephens said no action was taken at that meeting, but the commission got the chance to air their concerns and get Smith's input on the matter.

"We are doing everything we can do, legally," Stephens said.

Commissioners last week expressed concern about safety at the site after a fire broke out, burning a pile of tobacco that has been stockpiled at Biomass.

The Ohio EPA has given Biomass until July 29 to remove all of the more than 10,000 tons of tobacco that was supposed to have been burned at that facility.

Local officials are also dissatisfied with Biomass's delinquent tax bill. The company owes $102,116.99 in unpaid property taxes for 13 parcels of land in South Point.

Most of the money owed is delinquent taxes. Information from the Lawrence County Auditor's Office showed that Biomass is past due in payment of $83,995.87 to the county coffers for taxes owed in the 2001 and 2002 tax years. The company owes $18,121.12 for taxes that are due August 8. That entity owns some 13 parcels of land totaling more than 80 acres at The Point Industrial Park. The unpaid balance has accrued a $1,812.13 penalty.

"That's two teachers in the South Point School District," Lawrence County Commissioner Jason Stephens said of the $83,995.87 past due bill. "I think it indicates their commitment to our community. Three things we told them: pay your taxes, abide by EPA orders, and keep an open line of communication with local officials, that's all we ask. That's what everyone else does."

The Ironton Tribune contacted Biomass Energy LLC CEO Mark Harris was contacted for his comment on the matter. He advised he did not have a comment.