June 21, 2012
I have been investigating past PILOTS (the payment in lieu of tax program) and trying to follow up on past ending dates to see if when the PILOT ended, did the City and the County get the promised higher taxes. This has proved to be very difficult to gather this information and it should be the subject of a public report run hopefully by the County Trustee’s office. But I will give it a shot. I picked out some examples at random. There may be some reason for the differences but the public needs an explanation.
1) United Parcel Service, Inc, 3675 New Swinnea Rd, Assessment tax $436,320.00. Contract Tax $1.00, difference $436,319.00. After the end date (12/31/2007) I find that the total tax paid (City and County) is $230,596.45, a difference of $205,723.55.
2) Protein Technologies Intl, 4272 S. Mendelhall. Assessment Tax $643,678.65. Contract tax $100.00, difference $643,578.65. After the end date (12/31/2007) I find that the total tax paid (City and County) is $86,537.34 to the City, $0.00 for the County for 2008, $85,091.49 for 2009, $85,091.49 for 2010 and $214,548.40 for 2011. This is listed as Solae LLC.
The City Council is talking about public audits of the PILOT recipients but this could be very expensive. My suggestion is an unpaid committee of public taxpaying citizens that would study the history of those properties that have completed their PILOT period and would report to the public annually the results of the end of the PILOTs. Did the property start paying the full tax or did something else happen such as a tax reduction, or an extension or whatever. The public needs a simple report on the results of the end of the PILOTs.
Also the City of Memphis needs to combine its tax collection with the Trustee’s office so that all tax information is in one place and in one format rather than in two offices as is now the case. For instance the current annual Trustee’s report on PILOTs is for county taxes only but does not show delinquent city taxes.