Village Society, schools reach deal over tax exemption
The German Village Society and Columbus City Schools have reached an accord over the disputed tax-exempt status of the Meeting Haus, 588 S. Third St.
The Society has agreed to pay the school district $88,875 in order to end litigation over the matter, which started in 2003.
The amount represents a portion of the money the society would have paid CCS in real-estate taxes from 2000 to 2010.
The school district, in return, has withdrawn its objections to the exemption, and Ohio Tax Commissioner Joe Testa has approved tax-exempt status for the Meeting Haus from 2011 forward.
The two sides stuck the agreement in February, but were waiting from a "final determination" letter from the tax commissioner, which approved the tax-exempt status.
"We always thought we were entitled to the exemption, but you're relieved to get a case like this settled," Bill Case, president of the GVS board of trustees, said July 9 at the monthly Society meeting.
The Society and school board struck the agreement in February but it wasn't officially cemented until recently, when the state tax commissioner issued a "final determination" letter, which technically approved of the exemption.
Jim Hopple, another member of the Society Board of Trustees, said the settlement potentially saved more costly court battles.
The society had received $143,000 after a 2009 decision when the exemption was first granted. Minus the amount paid to the district and another $10,000 in attorney fees, the GVS has roughly $30,000 remaining.
Case appointed a special committee to determine how best to spend the money.
Candidates for board of trustees
In other news from the meeting, seven candidates have stepped forward to serve on the GVS board.
Current Board President Bill Case, Tim Bibler, Michael Cornelis, Greg Gamier, Rob Hilbert, Kyle Kramer and Stephanie Martt are running for four seats. Roy Bieber, Norman Hall and Jim Hopple are not seeking re-election.
Additional petitions are due July 27.
The election committee will distribute ballots as soon as possible after a slate of candidates has been approved at the Aug. 13 meeting.
Votes must be postmarked or received within three weeks after distribution. The final day to vote will be in September. New board members begin serving Oct. 8.