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County, VFDs lose $200K

A tax overpayment by two Escambia County business owners means the county general fund and volunteer fire department operating funds will be cut by more than $200,000 this year.

County Administrator Tony Sanks said the overpayment was discovered when the undisclosed business owners appealed their state tax bill.
“We weren’t given many particulars, only that the Alabama Department of Revenue said two owners are due a sizable refund after remitting their taxes in error at a higher rate than was due,” Sanks said. “It does mean a $150,000 loss for the county.”

Sanks said it is also unknown which volunteer fire departments will be impacted by funding loss, which equates to approximately $63,000 in revenue.

“It’s unfortunate for any of us to hear,” Commissioner Larry White said of the news. “We all depend on every dollar we receive. What really hurts the fire departments is that money has already been budgeted for things like lease payments, equipment.”

Sanks said the state will refund the money to the business owners and deduct the costs from the county’s and departments’ monthly tax allotment. It will take approximately five months for the state to recoup the costs, he said.

In other business, the commission:

• approved Georgia Pacific’s 10-year ad valorem tax abatement request to assist in covering the costs of a $50 million equipment upgrade at the Brewton facility. The abatement does not apply to an education taxes.

• closed a portion of Pollard Road as part of the land agreement with Cedar Creek Land & Timber, who donated the site for the new Pollard Boat Landing in exchange for the road closure’; and,

• designated the paved one-mile portion  of Old Jack Springs Road as a “No Trucks” area.