The Effingham County Industrial Development Authority could be facing a hefty bill for its condemnation of the Research Forest Tract.
Property taxes on the land were due last November but haven’t been paid, Tax Commissioner Lisa Wright said. IDA officials asked the county to determine if the IDA or the former owners of the land were responsible for the bill.
The grand total, including interest and penalties, is $207,663.37.
“It is my finding that the IDA is liable for the taxes on the parcels,” Wright said. “If you purchase a piece of property after January 1, you should be taxable for it.”
The IDA received a tax notice in April but questioned when it took ownership of the land. The special master assigned to the case, Hubert Reeves, ruled that the IDA would pay $31 million to IP for 2,630 acres in late December 2005.
The final order from the judge in the condemnation case came in January 2006.
“The other entities are depending on that money to run their business,” Wright told the commissioners. “I don’t think you should change your procedure on this.”
IDA member David Carter said the misunderstanding on the taxes was unique to the condemnation, though the IDA was willing to pay the bill.
“It is not a typical real estate closing,” he said.
Wright said she could relieve the IDA of the interest and penalties, amounting $31,804.