County, MCC won't give up fight for mine taxes

Pursuit of Mineral Park $$$ will continue in bankruptcy court; county hires Coral Loyd

Coral Loyd

Coral Loyd

KINGMAN - The dispute over property taxes owed to Mohave County by bankrupt Mineral Park mine is back on the Board of Supervisors' agenda for today's 9:30 a.m. regular meeting at the County Administration Building, 700 W. Beale St.

Supervisors will vote to authorize the Arizona Attorney General's Office to defend Mohave County in the case of Mineral Park Inc. vs. Arizona Department of Revenue.

Mineral Park has requested an abatement of nearly $16 million in property taxes owed, offering to pay between 20 percent and 30 percent. The county received a letter from Mineral Park stating it will not compromise on the abatement.

The tax issue has been tabled twice and the board met in executive session at its last meeting, but took no action. Supervisors said nothing can happen while the case goes through U.S. Bankruptcy proceedings.

Should the county refuse to settle with Mineral Park, the back taxes would be processed through bankruptcy with all other amounts owed by the company, which total more than $115 million.

A bankruptcy court in Delaware on Jan. 20 approved the sale of Mineral Park's assets to Origin Mining Co. for about $10 million.

Mineral Park filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization in August and announced a shutdown of the mine in late December that resulted in the layoff of 383 employees.

Michael Kearns, president of Mohave Community College, told the board that the college was counting on $1.6 million from Mineral Park's taxes to help pay for construction of new buildings on the Kingman campus.

Arizona Department of Revenue has already approved a reduction in the mine's valuation by nearly $480 million, which translates to a decrease of $586,000 from the community college's tax levy, Kearns noted.

The valuation was done centrally, not locally, in which case the Arizona Attorney General's Office normally either defends the case or provides outside counsel to defend the case.

Other items on the supervisors' agenda:

• Approve recommendation by the County Administrator to appoint Coral Lloyd as Mohave County financial services director effective Feb. 17 at an annual salary of $120,000, plus one month's COBRA payment in the amount of $1,376 until her benefits begin on April 1.

• Adoption of Mohave County ordinance outlining reclaimed water use requirements (continued from Jan. 5 meeting).

• Approve retirement of Mohave County Sheriff K9 Thor to his handler, Sam Ruiz.

• Consent to the assignment and assumption of Sarah's House lease by Kingman Aid to Abused People.

• Approve request by Golden Valley Fire District to hold a mail ballot election for May 19 recall election.

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