There seems to be some type of shell game being played on county taxpayers by some of the industries doing business in the county.
When a business operates in the county they must have “personal property” necessary to run the business. This may include desks, chairs, filing cabinets, telephones and so forth.
Depending on the business there is of course a lot of other personal property necessary to run a large outfit like Interfor. This would include valuable specialized machinery. Companies are required to list and place a value on this personal property. Then it is taxed by the county with the revenue going to the schools, parks, libraries and other junior taxing districts.
The way the game is played now the companies value the equipment, pay the tax on it until they go out of business and then apply for a tax reimbursement for the personal property–now valued much less than before. When successful, the schools, parks, libraries and other junior taxing districts must refund the money to the now-defunct corporation.
On Tuesday county commissioners will petition the junior taxing districts for return of money paid by Interfor when it was doing business in Forks. Now that the private property is no longer in the county it is very difficult to appraise. The company merely presents a corrected evaluation of the disappeared property and the schools, parks and libraries must pay up.
It would seem the county commissioners would look out for the junior taxing districts because any money not paid by the corporations must now be paid by property-owners within the county.
Complicating this scenario is the fact that the method for appraising personal property is not susceptible to Public Records Requests.
All the power is in the hands of the corporation and the county commissioners. Commissioners seem more comfortable collecting from individual property owners in the county than in making corporations toe the line. Naturally corporations are much more likely to have expensive lawyers to push their claim whereas individual taxpayers will not likely challenge their tax bill.