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AVALON SOUTH County orders payment of taxes



Published: Thu, May 3, 2001 @ 12:00 a.m.



Avalon South Management runs the golf course and is obligated to pay, the Warren auditor said.

TRUMBULL STAFF REPORT

WARREN -- Trumbull County has threatened to pursue foreclosure of the city-owned Avalon South Golf Course for nonpayment of $54,727 in real property taxes.

A letter dated April 17, from Stacey Richards and Michael J. Robinson, deputy Trumbull County treasurers, gave the city 15 days to make payment or face having foreclosure action filed in Trumbull County Common Pleas Court. A copy of the letter was sent to The Vindicator.

Trumbull County Common Pleas Court records state that no action has been filed against the city, even though the deadline has passed.

Treasurer Christ Michelakis said he thinks an agreement has been reached with city officials. He declined to give details of the agreement.

City Auditor David Griffing said Avalon South Management operates the course for the city and is contractually obligated to pay the bill.

Meeting: Officials with the city and Avalon South were to meet today to try to resolve the matter. Tony Joy Jr., the president of Avalon South Management, said that he met last week with officials in the county auditor's office to raise questions about his tax bill and that he will soon begin making monthly payments.

Griffing said the city has known for a few years that Avalon South has not been paying property taxes, "but we thought we had it taken care of."

Questions billing: Joy said he thinks his company might be improperly billed taxes for a portion of the property that contains a county water tower and a communications tower owned by the city of Warren.

Joy said that when his company bid to run the golf course in 1988, he did not know it would be liable for $16,000 or $17,000 in property tax per year. The course's previous operator was not billed for property taxes, he said.

Joy said he has made one payment, of about $16,000 in August. He said the March payment was missed both to raise the issue of how the taxes are assigned and because of cash flow problems before spring weather brought in business.

The city does not expect the county will initiate foreclosure, Griffing said, because "if worst comes to worst, the city will pay" and demand reimbursement from Avalon South.

The $54,727 amount, including penalty, amounts to about three years of nonpayment, Griffing said.

The letter says the property could be sold at auction, with the city incurring any court or filing costs.

Location: Avalon South, 35 Warren-Sharon Road, is across from the Avalon Inn and Resort and Avalon Lakes Golf Course.

Avalon South was originally farm land and was donated to the city many years ago, Griffing said.

The city has said it will seek appraisals of the land to determine its market value.

The cash-strapped city may decide to sell the course, but officials have said it's never a good idea to sell assets in a time of financial crisis.




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