By TRAVIS MORSE
---- — MT. VERNON – Mt. Vernon Township High School plans to object to a recent appeal by the Walgreens Distribution Center to lower the center's 2011 Equalized Assessed Valuation of $3.5 million.
If the Walgreens facility succeeds in lowering the EAV to $1.9 million, as per their appeal, they would pay substantially less in property taxes. This would likely result in MVTHS losing over $40,000 a year in property tax revenue, said Superintendent Michael Smith.“Their bill would go down by that amount, which would result in lost revenue to us,” Smith said of the Walgreens Distribution Center. “If they prevail, that spreads more burden on the rest of the taxpayers.”Smith broached this issue at Monday's meeting of the MVTHS Board of Education. At that time, the board authorized Smith to pursue an intervention, or objection, to the Walgreens appeal.Smith said Wednesday he has met with the district's legal counsel and that an intervention will be filed.At a later date, the Illinois Property Tax Appeal Board will decide whether to grant the Walgreens appeal for a lower EAV. The school district's intervention may be a factor in the board's decision, Smith said.“We're not seeking additional tax dollars,” Smith said. “We're just trying to acquire the dollars that have already been approved under the tax cap. Those are based on the assessed property values. We would maintain that the current assessment is accurate.”Representatives of the Walgreens Distribution Center were unavailable for comment.The District 80 school district has also filed an intervention related to the Walgreens appeal. The requested EAV reduction would likely cost District 80 about $8,000 a year, said Superintendent Mike Green.Steve Lueker, Jefferson County's supervisor of assessments, said the Walgreens land assessment for 2011 was “on the high side.” Since that time, property values have changed, he said.“Our opinion was it was in everybody's best interest to get this resolved as soon as possible,” Lueker said.Smith said it's not unusual for MVTHS to intervene on tax issues such as this.A firm time frame was not available for when the Illinois Property Tax Appeal Board will rule on this matter.