Hotel property tax hearing Wednesday

It’s been nearly two weeks since a local hotelier raised concern about a potential increase to his property taxes.

The issue is scheduled to go before the court on Wednesday.

And the county is preparing a defense.

The issue came up at last Warren County Commissioner’s meeting.

According to John McGraw, owner of the Hampton Inn in Conewango Township, an offer by the Warren County Board of Assessment Appeals would increase the tax liability on the property from about $60,000 to over $120,000.

“We will be paying a disproportionate share of taxes,” McGraw said. “I feel I am being singled out.”

He said the increased burden would force him to adjust staffing — salaries and the number of people employed — which would subsequently result in a drop in the service that has brought the hotel company-wide renown.

Chairman Ben Kafferlin announced an executive session for Tuesday at 1 p.m. to consult with the county’s counsel in the matter in advance of a Wednesday hearing.

That hearing is slated for 1:30 p.m. in the Main Courtroom.

Commissioner Cindy Morrison asked if the session was necessary.

She called it a “matter of the court” and said it was “not in our hands to make decisions.”

“We have to have a discussion about how our attorney should deal with the situation before the court,” Commissioner Jeff Eggleston said. “(There) hasn’t been a strategy in what his response is going to be based on the court’s decision.”

“We are being sued,” Commissioner Ben Kafferlin said. “(We) need to weigh in on what the strategy is. I have never talked to (counsel) about it.”

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