Biomass Company Owes Lawrence County, Ohio Back Taxes

- Benita Heath, April 8, 2015, Ironton Tribune

[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_large","fid":"455","attributes":{"alt":"corporate tax cartoon","class":"media-image","style":"width: 300px; height: 215px; margin: 3px 10px; float: left;","title":"Cartoon: cartoonwork.com"}}]]Two months after Biomass owner Mark Harris paid off two-thirds of the back taxes he owed on property at The Point industrial park, he has yet to pay any of the first half taxes for 2014.

Those taxes, due on March 6, total $5,193.49 on all six parcels, plus a 10 percent penalty. On top of that Harris has not paid 3,975.25 on two parcels with a delinquency dating back to 2011.

Lawrence County Treasurer Stephen Burcham and Lawrence County Prosecuting Attorney Brigham Anderson started in October 2013 to get the back taxes paid, first by sending Harris a notice.

Then in July of 2014, a foreclosure hearing was scheduled but Harris called the treasurer saying he had only received the notice 10 days prior.

At that time Burcham gave Biomass 90 days to come up with the more than $45,000 it owed the county then on all six parcels.

On Jan. 27, all parcels were scheduled for a foreclosure sale in the courthouse when Harris contacted Anderson’s office that he would wire enough funds to pay off four parcels.

At that time Brenda Neville, assistant prosecuting attorney, said that Harris had redeemed them but that the prosecutor’s office had just learned there was a mortgage on the other two. A date for that sale would not be set until the mortgage is investigated.

“They are going to have to pay their taxes,” Anderson said. “If we file a foreclosure, it just costs them more, not only the taxes, but the interest and penalties.”

So far a sale date has not yet been scheduled.

“I am not asking Biomass anything that we are not asking all of the citizens of the county to do,” Burcham said. “It is not fair to the citizens who do pay taxes in a timely manner to ignore someone who doesn’t meet his civic obligation. We will attempt to use all the means in our disposal to collect those taxes.