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County sues Blair Oaks over surtax

At the Cole County Commission meeting Thursday morning, Presiding Commissioner Marc Ellinger said the county was prepared to file suit by the end of the week against the Blair Oaks R-2 School District if they did not sign the newest surtax settlement.

At the end of the working day Friday afternoon, the county did just that — and added the Russellville R-1 School District, Jefferson City Public Schools and Cole County Residential Services to the list of defendants.

Despite repeated calls after the suit was filed, Ellinger was not available for comment.

In its lawsuit, the county asks the court to order the defendants to “refund the tax proceeds incorrectly distributed to them” by the county, arguing that Blair Oaks received more than $822,000 in surplus surtax payments from the 2007, 2008 and 2009 tax years; that Russellville was overpaid more than $124,000 in that same period; that the Jefferson City School District was overpaid more than $428,000; and that more than $34,000 too much was paid to Cole County Residential Services.

The numbers in the lawsuit appear to contradict figures circulated by the county at an Aug. 12 meeting of the affected taxing entities.

In that document, JCPS is shown to owe more than $11,000; Russellville is listed as owing more than $91,000; Blair Oaks is shown to owe $656,000; and the County Residential Services, comprising money from the Road and Bridge Fund and the Handicap Fund, was listed at more than $21,000 overpaid.

The county’s papers also answered the allegations Jefferson City made in its Thursday afternoon lawsuit against the county, seeking a court order that the county account for the money the city was underpaid in the surtax distributions, and that it then be paid for the last five years of underpayments.

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