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Ohio County Auditor Discovers an Ongoing 30-Year Tax Mistake

After a massive flood in the Ohio county of Butler March 25, 1913, the Miami County Conservatory was formed to preserve the quality of Great Miami River water. This mission, hammered out in 1914, allowed for a tax against Butler County residents but apparently when this tax was raised in 1976, it didn’t actually go in front of Butler County votes like it was supposed to.

Which means $4 million in taxes has been collected since then ($252,793.74 in 2009) and somehow no one noticed until now.

Via the Oxford Press (OH):

Following an internal review and opinion from the Ohio Department of Tax Equalization, Butler County Auditor Roger Reynolds is removing the tax from the 2010 bill.

“I am proud of my office for this discovery, and for instituting our plan for stronger internal controls on behalf of the citizens of Butler County,” Reynolds said in a press release. “Our role as government leaders must be to protect taxpayers’ money, and to safeguard against waste and error.”

The tax is allowable according to Ohio law. A 1914 statute states taxes for a conservancy district can be collected up to 10 mills, but anything greater must have voter approval.

The funny part is that according to Miami Conservatory District PR, the county is only obligated to pay $207,982 a year to the conservatory. So they really over-collected.

This county auditor is the same who caught another tax boo-boo in early 2010 in which a $1.46 assessment was wrongly collected from every parcel of land in the county for a grand total of $2.3 million.

And you guys wonder why tax protesters do what they do.