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Our opinion: Back taxes are another punch in the gut

News that the shuttered Irvine Distribution Center owes more than $800,000 in back taxes is just another punch in the gut when it comes to the former Blair and BlueStem site.

At a time when money is in the right supply – particularly the $500,000 owed to the Warren County School District – the back taxes are like salt in the wound. The loss of 300 people was bad enough, but the new owner’s unwillingness to pay the taxes due on the facility continues to hurt the rest of the taxpayers who are carrying the load for school and government services.

“If those property owners would have been paying timely, the amount outstanding for 2023 would have gone down significantly,” Commissioner Tricia Durbin said. “That is a lot of money that we’re behind. It’s a lot to have to be without for a long period of time while we’re trying to run the operations of the county.”

We couldn’t agree more. The half-million dollars owed to the school district, for example, wouldn’t eliminate its structural budget deficit, but it would certainly help as school board members try to figure out the district’s future financial plans.

It would be good to hear what Guardian Reh Fee Owner LP, a Pomona, NY-based firm owns the two parcels in Irvine where the distribution center was located, has planned for the site as part of an update on the back tax situation. The company paid $23.5 million for the distribution center, so one would think there’s a plan for its future. Part of that plan, in our view, should be keeping the taxes current so there is no bad blood when it comes time to ask for local help to carry out that plan. That’s only fair to the rest of us.

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