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CAVE SPRINGS -- The city of Cave Springs plans to refund about $242,000 to property owners now that Benton County's county judge has ruled the money was illegally collected.

The City Council has accepted County Judge Barry Moehring's decision and will not appeal it to circuit court. The city estimated the 5 mills in property tax revenue would bring in about $400,000 in 2017. The tax revenue represents almost a quarter of its budget, city attorney Justin Eichmann said Friday.

He and county attorney George Spence said the next step is to get a formal order signed by Moehring that will outline the refund process. All the money collected as property taxes on behalf of the city will be returned to residents, Eichmann said.

He said the order should go through in about a week, but returning the money could take months. Spence said the refunds will be handled by the county collector's office.

Residents may donate their refund back to the city, Eichmann said, but he doesn't have details yet.

The county sent the city $10,907 in 2016 payments before the error was found. It has held tax receipts since then pending the resolution of the case. In all, $242,143 was collected through July 31, according to the collector's office. Delinquent tax payments for previous years are not affected, Eichmann said. Those taxes are still due.

Benton County Clerk Tena O'Brien was contacted by someone in March who tipped her off that Cave Springs hadn't adopted a millage for 2017 as required by law, according to filings.

Cave Springs failed to submit the correct millage for 2017 and instead turned in a copy of the city's millage resolution for 2016. The only difference between the two was a handwritten resolution number.

Metro on 08/13/2017

Print Headline: Cave Springs to refund property tax

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