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Commentary, sarcasm and snide remarks from a Florida resident of over thirty years. Being a glutton for punishment is a requirement for residency here. Who am I? I've been called a moonbat by Michelle Malkin, a Right Wing Nut by Daily Kos, and middle of the road by Florida blog State of Sunshine. Tell me what you think.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Florida the Rules are different here Chapter XXXVIII

The Broward County School Board owes back Property taxes. It is from a building they leased out to Bank of America and other offices. So they owe $65,368. Don't you just love Florida.

Open Post- Bright & Early, Jo's Cafe, Wizbang,

The Broward County School District will be slapped with a $65,368 bill for back property taxes on a Sunrise building it owns and leases, according to the Broward Property Appraiser's Office.

Bank of America, along with six offices used by lawyers and a title company, lease parts of a school district building at 7770 W. Oakland Park Blvd. While schools and other nonprofit organizations are exempt from property taxes, offices they might lease to a business are not, the Property Appraiser's Office said.

"It is another mistake," Property Appraiser Lori Parrish said. "This is our fault."

School Superintendent Frank Till said he did not know how long the businesses have leased part of the district's building, even though the property is listed as exempt on tax rolls.

Till said he was unaware of the irregularity until appraisers notified him this week.

"This is a whole new issue for me," Till said.

School Board member Marty Rubinstein, whose district includes the building, was surprised to hear about the tax bill, but said he intended to see the district pay it.

"If the property tax appraiser says the tax is due, and the law says the tax is due, then by God the bill should be paid," said Rubinstein, who, as a member of the county's Value Adjustment Board, helps resolve property tax disputes.

Inspectors with Parrish's office discovered nearly a quarter of the Sunrise building, or 12,565 of 53,906 square feet, was used by commercial businesses but listed as exempt. The Property Appraiser's Office on Friday asked the county Revenue Collection Division to bill the school district for $65,368 in back taxes, accounting for unpaid taxes for three years ending in 2005. The tab could arrive in the next two weeks.

Lawrence Grayson, a Bank of America spokesman at the company's headquarters in Charlotte, N.C., referred questions about possible tax discrepancies to Till.

"In general we are not supposed to pay taxes, but since we lease part of that property, it may be different. I don't know," Till said.

The school district in 2000 bought the complex on West Oakland Park Boulevard from Delaware-based Argora Properties LP, property records show.

Appraisers have asked the school district, which owns 375 properties, to provide copies of any lease agreements with businesses. Till said he only was aware of the arrangement with the bank.

Parrish blamed the oversight on the "humongous mess" she inherited from Rocky Rodriguez, who served as interim property appraiser from April 2004 through January 2005 after the death of Bill Markham. Rodriguez disagreed that the office was left in shambles.

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