MOUNT VERNON — Most Knox County property owners with more than one parcel may be due a refund of the Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District levy as a result of a computer system glitch.
“If the property owner owns multiple properties that are contiguous and are coded residential, agricultural or vacant, these properties are considered as one parcel and assessed $12 a year,” said Darrin Lautenschleger, public affairs manager of MWCD.
Lautenschleger said the computer system did not always recognize that the same person owned adjacent land parcels, mostly because of the way they are entered in the system. An example of this would be if John Doe owned his residence and purchased vacant land next door. If John E. Doe was recorded as the owner of the vacant land, both parcels would be assessed the MWCD levy.
If county property owners were overbilled for the assessment, a form can be completed asking MWCD to review the parcels, he said. Forms are available at the Knox County Auditor’s Office at 117 E. High St., or on www.mwcd.org.
The review application asks for property owner contact information, parcel identification numbers, which can be found on property tax statements, and the reason for the review request.
Reasons include adjacency, the Property Use Code is different, impervious area review or change in ownership.
“If you bring it to our attention, it is a simple fix,” he said. “Our staff will review the application. If it is approved, we will contact the appropriate county and then issue a refund to the property owner.”
According to Knox County Auditor Jonette Curry, the assessments were issued by the conservancy district, but once a correction order is received from the district, her office will readjust the assessment to conform with the order.
“The assessment will remain on the bill until we get a letter stating we need to make an adjustment,” Curry said. “As long as changes are made before second-half statements are printed, that bill will reflect the correction order.”
ommercial properties are also open to a review request, Lautenschleger said. These impervious properties — properties which have more runoff due to a hard surface — are assessed at $132 an acre, based on 85 percent of the parcel being under rooftop, asphalt or hard surface, such as a shopping mall. If the property owner believes that a lesser portion of the property is impervious, a reduction could be requested. However, if the percentage computes to be higher than 85 percent, an increase in the assessment could be levied.
Requests are processed in the order in which they are received by the MWCD. Lautenschleger said it typically takes two to four weeks for processing, but that could change based on the number of requests received.
Property owners with questions regarding the levy can direct them to MWCD at (866) 755-6923, or visit www.mwcd.org.