2012-09-08 / News

Lakewood taxpayers to receive refund

By Scott Rawdon

NEWARK- Lakewood School District property owners may receive an unexpected check soon.

Licking County Auditor Michael Smith and Lakewood Treasurer Glenna Plaisted said Wednesday morning that the district over-collected on a sixmill emergency levy that voters approved in 2008.

“We felt our taxpayers would want their money back,” said Plaisted, adding that there was an option of simply keeping the money and applying it toward the next levy, but district and county officials agreed district residents would probably prefer cash in their hands, even though Smith said it will cost between $2,400 and $2,700 to distribute the checks.

Plaisted said refunds would range from a few cents to $1,600. She said $100 to $250 refunds would be common, as would $60 to $90 refunds. Anyone with a refund $20 or greater will receive a check and letter of explanation, and those due a refund of less than $20 will receive a letter stating that their refund will be applied toward a future tax bill.“They’ll know they’re getting something,” said Plaisted. She said of the district’s 9,890 taxpayers, 3,659 would receive refunds of $20 or less.

“(The over-collection) wasn’t intentional; this was an oversight,” said Plaisted. “The collection was higher than the voted amount.”

Smith explained that the state reimbursed money to the district during the three-year period the levy was collected, for a total of $883,839. However, the reimbursement was not considered when the levy was collected from district property owners. “We should’ve subtracted that amount (from the levy revenue to be collected), and that didn’t occur,” said Smith. Plaisted said the district was actually collecting the six-mill emergency levy at 6.3 mills.

Deputy Auditor Chad Fuller said the auditor’s office checked to see if the district properties changed ownership during the collection period.

“If you owned property (within Lakewood School District) and moved after 2009, you should contact the auditor’s office,” said Smith, “even if you moved within the district.” He said those who sold or purchased property within the Lakewood district after 2009 qualify for a refund based on when the property was sold or purchased. “We’ll try to identify anyone we can,” and contact them, said Smith, but affected owners should contact the auditor’s office on their own.

Smith said property owners who can’t wait until the end of September to learn what their refund is can contact the Licking County auditor’s office or the Lakewood district office.

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