Trumbull County to fight steel plant owner's taxes claim - 21 News Now, More Local News for Youngstown, Ohio -

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Trumbull County to fight steel plant owner's taxes claim

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WARREN, Ohio - Two Trumbull County communities could be forced to pay back tax dollars to the owner of a now shutdown steel plant and the amount is the in the millions.

The fight to hold onto more than $3 million collected in personal property taxes began Wednesday, with county commissioners giving the county prosecutor's office approval to hire an attorney to fight a judgement issued by the Ohio Supreme Court. The county's treasurer says the state's highest court sided with the company's claims it overpaid its taxes in 2001, 2002 and 2003.

"At the time when I received this, I felt this is not right," Adrian Biviano says, county treasurer. "We're now talking about a third successor company that's no longer in business, it's asking for a refund from well-over a decade ago."

Who stands to lose?

The city of Warren, Warren City Schools, Howland Township and Howland Local Schools would all be forced to pay back monies collected.

While exact figures are not available, the county says the Warren City School District would be on the hook for the largest bill.

County commissioners hope a legal expert will find a way to prevent two communities and their school districts from being forced to pay the owner of the now former RG Steel plant the overpaid taxes.

Commissioner Paul Heltzel says it's possible they won't find a way of this.

"Whenever you're in court, there's always that possibility," Heltzel says. "You have to get a sympathetic court that says 'look, these school districts are really getting the short end of the stick'."

For now, they're focusing on what's in front of them-- a potentially long and expensive legal road ahead.
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