One of Erie County Court’s biggest tax cases looks set to end without a trial.
Erie Insurance Group and Erie’s three taxing authorities are close to settling an agreement on the assessed value of the Fortune 500 Company’s downtown Erie headquarters.
The deal, which is expected to affect tens of thousands of dollars in tax revenue, is done in principle, yet numerous details need to be fixed, Erie Insurance lawyers and taxing authorities said in court.
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“We are very close to a resolution of the case,” John Mehler, lawyer, Erie Insurance, told Shad Connelly, Senior Erie County Judge, who is handling the 3 ½-year-old case.
Connelly had scheduled a nonjury trial to commence on Monday, and he indefinitely postponed the trial at the lawyers’ request.
Lawyers said that they had reached a uncertain agreement on the crucial figure – the assessed value of the properties at issue, composed of four interlocking buildings and two parking ramps that sit on 10.58 acres and encompass 502,304 square feet on Perry Square’s east side.
They refused to present the assessed value which was published in the deal, yet they say that the amount will be in the final proposal that must clinch the city, Erie School District and the Erie County government’s respective approvals. Connelly must also see the final proposal.
The assessed value in the final deal is projected to be between $13.1 million and $36.5 million, as stated on the GoErie website.
At present, its assessed value is $32.1 million, which the Erie County Assessment Bureau established in 2013, following the countrywide reassessment that ended in 2012. The Erie County Assessment Board refused to configure the value.
In December 2014, Erie Insurance went to court to decimate the amount to $13.1 million, a 59.2% decrease, while taxing authorities countered with the assessed value of $36.5 million, which is a 13.7% increase.
Reducing the assessed value to $13.1 million would drop Erie Insurance’s tax bill by $632,000 a year, while increasing it to $36.5 million would increase the tax bill by $150,000.
“We are continuing to work on a resolution,” Greg Karle, City Solicitor, said after the hearing, while Bryan Baumann, lawyer for the school district, and Dan Susi, lawyer for the Assessment Board, refused to comment on details. However, they said that the case is nearing a settlement.
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