11th hour payment wrong

Published 9:37 am Thursday, September 24, 2015

Tax books haven’t been closed a month and once again Mark Harris, owner of the non-productive Biomass business, is behind in his taxes — to the tune of $11,439.

This isn’t surprising, as this has become a repeat occurrence while essentially thumbing his proverbial nose at the county, refusing to pay taxes acreage adjacent to The Point industrial park. Obtaining that property would put all of the former Allied plant that is now The Point under the ownership of the Lawrence Economic Development Corporation. Doing so could add square footage and potential jobs to the county.

In January after a year of back and forth between the county prosecutor, county treasurer and Harris to get him to pay almost $64,000 in back taxes, six parcels were set to go for a foreclosure sale. Minutes before the auction, Harris came up with a wire transfer of about three-fourths of what he owed.

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As much at fault as Harris’ blatant disregard for his obligation as a property owner is the Ohio Revised Code that does not put any timeframe that a taxpayer can redeem his or her property by paying up. Section 5721.25 of ORC states “any person entitled to redeem the land may do so by tendering to the county treasurer an amount sufficient to pay the taxes, assessments, penalties, interest and charges then due and unpaid.”

This is a Grand Canyon of a loophole the legislature must change. Second, even third, chances are one thing, but continuous abuse of the system should not be tolerated. This is a disgrace to those who pay their obligation.