Cornell Tax Assessment . . . County to Reimburse Decatur Township $2,700

(GantDaily Graphic)

CLEARFIELD – The Clearfield County Commissioners agreed at its meeting Tuesday to reimburse Decatur Township approximately $2,700 for the professional tax assessment of Cornell Companies Inc., which operates the Moshannon Valley Correctional Center in Philipsburg.

Last month, the commissioners were confronted by Decatur Township Supervisor Andy Rebar, whom asked that the county compensate them for at least a portion of the cost of the professional appraisal. He said the township was joined by the Philipsburg-Osceola Area School District in litigation about the tax assessment of the Cornell facility.

According to Rebar, the township and the school district split the total cost of $19,000 for the facility’s independent appraisal. He said the county was approached about and ultimately declined to share in the cost for the appraisal.  Also, he said the township and school district had $50,000 wrapped up in legal fees from the tax appeal process.

On Tuesday, Commissioner Mark McCracken said the board received paperwork from Decatur Township, which indicated costs for both the professional appraisal and the legal fees endured as a result of the tax appeal. He noted that the board had recently prorated the cost of the Bionol Clearfield LLC appraisal with both the Clearfield Area School District and Clearfield Borough based on their respective millage rates.

“I think that would be appropriate here,” he said. Commissioner Chairman John Sobel said he believed that Decatur Township partnered with the Philipsburg-Osceola Area School District, and the two split the cost 50/50 for the professional appraisal of the Cornell facility.

Sobel said he planned to confirm the information for the board. If that was indeed the case, he thought their reimbursement should be shared between the township and the school district.

McCracken pointed out that Decatur Township also wanted compensated for the legal fees that it and the school district endured during the tax appeal process. Like them, he said the county faced expenses for Solicitor Kim Kesner’s time spent on the tax appeal.

“I don’t think we want to get into that,” he said. Both Sobel and Commissioner Joan Robinson-McMillen agreed, stating they should only reimburse their portion for the appraisal. If determined to be applicable, they said the township and school district should divide the county’s portion of the reimbursement.

McCracken said it would become a valuable resource down the road to have had a professional appraisal conducted on the Cornell facility. Robinson-McMillen said the board wanted to thank Decatur Township for pushing forward through the tax appeal process.

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